The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost 11-7 Thursday afternoon at Alliance Bank Stadium, as the Pawtucket Red Sox completed a four-game series sweep.
After the Chiefs scored only four runs in the first three games of their set with the Red Sox, Syracuse (3-11) plated two runners in the third, another in the third, and three in the fourth. Pawtucket (10-5), however, took control of a back-and-forth contest with a four-run top of the fifth.
The Red Sox set the tone for an offensive affair in the first when Will Middlebrooks singled home Jose Iglesias with two outs. The Chiefs would respond immediately though in their first turn to bat. Corey Brown led off with a double and came in to score two batters later on a Mark Teahen double that one-hopped the wall near the 405-foot marker in center field. Tyler Moore's subsequent hard-hit single up the middle drove home Teahen to give the Chiefs their first lead of the series, 2-1.
Pawtucket took the lead right back in the third, as Middlebrooks clobbered a three-run homer to left field in the vicinity of Alliance Bank Stadium's brand-new scoreboard, which is in the process of being installed. Middlebrooks' four RBI on Thursday increased his season tally to 16 - second-best in the International League at game's end.
Syracuse again responded with a run in the bottom of the third thanks to Tyler Moore's second RBI hit of the game, a double down the line in left to score Josh Johnson. That cut Pawtucket's lead to 4-2. Moore finished the day three for four with three RBI, upping his team-leading total to 14 on the year.
After Syracuse starter Zach Duke kept Pawtucket off the board in the top of the fourth, the Chiefs' offense put together a two-out rally in the bottom half. Seth Bynum walked, setting the stage for Brown to blast a homer - his first of 2012 - down the right field line. Syracuse didn't stop there in the fourth. Still with two outs, Johnson and Teahen walked, allowing Moore to follow with yet another RBI hit, a line drive to left. Moore's third run-scoring hit of the afternoon gave the Chiefs a 6-4 lead.
Duke exited in the fifth with the score at 6-4 once Middlebrooks reached base on an error at shortstop by Johnson and Josh Kroeger doubled. Austin Bibens-Dirkx entered the game in relief for Syracuse, but allowed three consecutive RBI doubles to Alex Hassan, Matt Spring, and Jonathan Hee. The sequence turned the Chiefs' two-run lead into an 8-6 deficit.
The visitors tacked on one more in the sixth and a pair in the ninth to go up by as many as five at 11-6. Syracuse's only response was a Bynum solo home run in the final frame.
The Chiefs stay at Alliance Bank Stadium for the start of a new series Friday at 7:00 PM against the Buffalo Bisons. Mitch Atkins gears up for his fourth start of the season for Syracuse against Buffalo's Matt Harvey.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.