The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, won their third straight game with a 6-3 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday afternoon. The Chiefs scored five runs in the third inning for the second straight day and swept the brief two-game series at Pawtucket.
After right-hander Billy Buckner retired six straight batters to start the game, Syracuse (58-61) unleashed its offense in the third inning. Jarrett Hoffpauir doubled to begin the inning, and two batters later, Brett Carroll reached on a fielding error by third baseman Danny Valencia. Eury Perez was then hit by Buckner's next pitch, loading the bases with one out. The next batter, designated hitter Jim Negrych, followed with a single to center field, scoring the game's first run. After Corey Brown grounded into a fielder's choice to shortstop, scoring Carroll for a 2-0 lead. Third baseman Carlos Rivero laced the game's biggest hit. He smashed a two-run double into the left-field corner, plating Negrych and Brown for a 4-0 lead. Mark Teahen followed with an RBI single and the Chiefs had a 5-0 advantage at the half-inning's end.
Pawtucket (65-54) got one of its runs back in the bottom of the inning against Chiefs starter Jeff Mandel. With one out, second baseman Nate Spears lined a 1-1 pitch into the right-center field bleachers for his ninth home run. That cut the lead to 5-1.
Mandel, however, continued to cruise. He allowed just that hit through the game's first five innings, until Pawtucket rallied in the sixth for another run. Spears started the frame with a bunt single, and with one out, Jose Iglesias walked to put two runners on. After a J.C. Linares fly out, first baseman Mauro Gomez grounded a single to center field, scoring Spears and cutting the lead to 5-2. But Mandel recovered, retiring Danny Valencia on a fielder's choice groundout to shortstop.
The Chiefs added a seventh-inning insurance run against Pawtucket reliever Daniel Bard. Perez and Negrych walked to lead off the inning before advancing to second and third base on a double steal. Brown then blooped a single to center field, scoring Perez for a 6-2 lead.
That run support was more than enough for Mandel, who picked up his third win with the Chiefs. He allowed just four hits and two runs in seven innings, walking two and striking out four.
The Red Sox would score one more run, on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly against Mitch Atkins, but the right-hander escaped the inning without any further damage before working a scoreless ninth.
Syracuse next heads to Lehigh Valley to begin a two-game series with the IronPigs on Friday night at 7:05. Syracuse right-hander Tanner Roark and Lehigh Valley right-hander Jonathan Pettibone are the scheduled starters.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.