The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost for the first time in four games, 8-2, to the Louisville Bats on Thursday night. The Bats scored four runs over the game's first four innings and the Chiefs could never recover.
Louisville (19-43) got to Chiefs starter Tanner Roark early. Joey Gathright and Miguel Rojas hit back-to-back singles to lead off the game. Two outs later, Gathright and Rojas came home to score on a sharply-hit single to left by Cody Puckett.
Two innings later, the Bats added another tally. Willie Harris and Neftali Soto singled, and Mike Costanzo walked to load the bases with one out. Puckett followed with a sacrifice fly that drove in Harris to make the score 3-0.
Louisville scored again in the fourth inning. Felix Perez singled to lead off the inning and came around to score on a Corky Miller double that tickled the right field foul line.
Syracuse (29-32) finally broke through against Bats starter Sean Gallagher in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jim Negrych started the frame with a line-drive single to right field. After an out, Seth Bynum advanced Negrych to second with a sharp single to left-center field. One batter later, pinch-hitter Xavier Paul blasted a single to right, scoring Negrych to pull the Chiefs within three.
The Bats increased their lead in the sixth inning. Louisville loaded the bases against Syracuse reliever Ryan Perry on a single and two walks. With two outs, Gathright drove home Costanzo and Puckett with a seeing-eye single past a diving Negrych at second base to make the score 6-1.
The Chiefs threatened again in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Bynum walked with two outs, James Skelton teed off on a pitch from reliever Carlos Fisher and roped it into the left-center field gap for an RBI double. Bynum's run cut the Bats lead to 6-2.
Louisville capped the scoring in the top of the ninth inning. Bill Rhinehart lined a solo homer to right and Harris scored on a single by Costanzo for the Bats' eighth and final run.
Gallagher was the winning pitcher after allowing one run and four hits in six innings. Roark was saddled with the loss after giving up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
The Chiefs and Bats wrap up a five-game series Friday night at Alliance Bank Stadium. Mitch Atkins is scheduled to pitch for Syracuse, while Louisville is set to counter with Ryan Feierabend. First pitch is slated for 7:00.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.