The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Sunday at Alliance Bank Stadium. Lehigh Valley won the first of two seven-inning games 6-3, and Syracuse took game two 6-1.
Offense ruled game one. Lehigh Valley pounded out 15 hits, including 13 against Chiefs starter John Lannan. The IronPigs took the lead for good in the top of the third inning. Michael Spidale and Domonic Brown led off the frame with back-to-back seeing-eye singles to put runners on first and second base. After a fielder's choice moved Spidale to third and put Hector Luna on first with one out, Jason Pridie reached on an infield single that drove home Spidale for the game's first run. Cody Overbeck followed with a single to load the bases with one out. After Tuffy Gosewisch popped out, Andres Blanco laced a single to left field to drive home Luna and give the IronPigs a 2-0 lead.
Lehigh Valley (59-51) broke the game wide open in the top of the fourth inning. The first six IronPigs hitters reached safely against John Lannan on five hits and a walk, capped by RBI singles from Luna and Pridie and a two-run single by Overbeck that gave Lehigh Valley a 6-0 lead and chased Lannan from the game.
Syracuse (52-57) tried to claw back into it in the bottom of the frame. Jesus Valdez singled for his second hit of the night and Brett Carroll walked to put runners on first and second with just one out. Then, Carlos Rivero clubbed a 1-0 pitch from Lehigh Valley starter B.J. Rosenberg over the Governors' Cup sign in left field for a three-run home run. Rivero's sixth homer of the season cut the Chiefs deficit to 6-3.
Rosenberg righted the ship, though, from there, working five and two-thirds innings and allowing just those three runs on six hits.
Justin DeFratus picked up the final four outs without giving up a run to earn his first save of the season.
In game two, Lehigh Valley jumped in front in the top of the first inning against Syracuse starter Tanner Roark. Kyle Hudson led off the game with a single up the middle, Pete Orr followed with a single of his own, and then Brown drove home Hudson with a bloop single to right field that put the IronPigs up 1-0.
From there though, Roark settled in. He wouldn't allow another base runner until the fifth inning on the way to his sixth win of the season. All told, Roark allowed just five hits in his seven inning outing.
With Roark dealing, the Syracuse offense sprung to life in the bottom of the third inning. Jayson Werth led off with a single and moved to third on Rivero's double. Valdez followed with a sharp single to center field that scored Werth to knot things up at one. The next batter, Jim Negrych, grounded into a double play, but Rivero came home to score to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
A defensive lapse plagued the IronPigs in the bottom of the fourth inning. After the Chiefs loaded the bases with two outs, Lehigh Valley catcher John Suomi's passed ball allowed Jarrett Hoffpauir to score from third and put Chiefs up 3-1.
The Chiefs then used the long ball to put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chad Tracy bopped a pinch-hit homer over the manual scoreboard in left-center field to give Syracuse a 4-1 lead. Later in the inning, Rivero capped the scoring with a two-run shot, his second homer of the doubleheader, to put the Chiefs up 6-1.
Lehigh Valley wouldn't threaten the rest of the way. The IronPigs were unable to get a runner past first base over the game's last six innings as Roark coasted to his first career complete game.
The Chiefs and IronPigs meet in game four of their five-game set Monday night at 7:00 at Alliance Bank Stadium. Zach Duke will get the start for Syracuse against Lehigh Valley's Jonathan Pettibone.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.