Brian Friday and the Indianapolis Indians (41-40) knocked off the Syracuse Chiefs (33-44), the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, 7-3 Wednesday at Alliance Bank Stadium. Friday, who entered the game in the third after an injury to Jordy Mercer, blasted two solo home runs to lead the Indians to the win. Chiefs centerfielder Rick Ankiel, playing in Syracuse on a rehab assignment from the nationals, went 1-3 with a double and two runs.
Righthanded starter Yunesky Maya opened the game hot for the Chiefs. He scattered three hits and allowed only one other baserunner through the first five innings of action.
In those five frames, the Chiefs managed to build a slight lead, thanks largely to the top of their order. Leadoff batter Ankiel started the third with a double to rightfield. Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice bunt brought him to third followed by a Matt Antonelli sacrifice fly that put Syracuse up 1-0.
That trio teamed up again for the Chiefs' second run of the day. Ankiel again led off in the fifth but got to second with some help from an Indians' error. Miles Durham dropped Ankiel's deep line drive to right, allowing the Chief to get to second. Lombardozzi again moved his teammate to third with a sacrifice bunt, followed by an Antonelli RBI-single to put Syracuse up 2-0.
That lead quickly disappeared, however, as Maya struggled in the top of the sixth. Friday started the frame with his first homer of the season to leadoff the inning. The next batter, John Bowker, grounded a single to left and moved to third on a groundout. Maya then walked Andy Marte before Durham made up for his error in the previous frame.
He blasted a two-RBI triple over the head of Ankiel in centerfield to put Indianapolis up 3-2. Maya dealt a strikeout to Miguel Perez in the next at-bat but Gorkys Hernandez tacked on another run with an RBI-double before the Chiefs righty could get out of the inning.
Syracuse quickly cut into that lead when Tug Hulett crushed a homer off reliever Michael Crotta to start the bottom of the sixth. But the Indians righty recovered to retire three straight batters and end the inning with the score at 4-3.
Indianapolis then extended its lead in the seventh. Pedro Ciriaco started the frame with a single and a stolen base. Chiefs reliever Ryan Tatusko walked Friday and a past ball by catcher Jhonatan Solano moved the runners to second and third. Tatusko got the first out of the inning before intentionally loading the bases by walking Matt Hague.
But Marte hit a sacrifice fly to deep leftfield to bring in a run, followed by Durham's third RBI of the day to put the score at 6-3. After Durham's RBI, however, the outfielder got caught between first and second and was tagged out before another run could score.
The Chiefs threatened to pull closer in the eighth when righty reliever Jose Ascanio took the mound. He struck out the first two batters he faced but Jhonatan Solano ripped a double just inside the third base bag to keep the inning alive. Gregor Blanco then hit a slow roller to second that handcuffed Ciriaco to put runners at the corners. Syracuse sent Seth Bynum to the plate to pinch hit against Indians reliever Justin Thomas but he hit a popout to shallow left to end the frame.
Friday tacked on an insurance run off Jeff Mandel with his second homer of the game to start the ninth, and the Chiefs couldn't get anything going in the bottom of the inning.
Syracuse and Indianapolis play again Thursday at 7:00 at Alliance Bank Stadium. Chiefs righty Brad Meyers will toe the rubber against Indians southpaw Garrett Olson.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.