The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Gwinnett Braves, 5-2, on Sunday night to win their seventh straight game. Erik Komatsu had four hits, including a home run, to lead the Chiefs.
Rain delayed the start of the game by almost two hours, but once the weather cleared, both offenses came out swinging. The Braves wasted no time getting on the board in the top of the first inning. Luis Durango led off the game by legging out a bunt single. The International League steals leader then swiped second base and moved to third on the errant throw by Chiefs catcher Jeff Howell. Josh Wilson's grounder to shortstop allowed Durango to score the game's first run.
Syracuse (39-37) answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Corey Brown led off the inning with a double, Komatsu followed with a single, and Brett Carroll hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Brown from third. With two outs, Mark Teahen walked and Carlos Rivero reached on an infield single to load the bases. Braves starter Jose Lugo then issued back-to-back run-scoring walks to Jarrett Hoffpauir and Howell to give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead.
Gwinnett (37-41) used a familiar combination to score in the top of the third inning. Durango led off with another single and Wilson brought him home for a second time with a double to left field to cut the Syracuse lead to 3-2.
In the fourth inning, the red-hot Chiefs pushed another run across to go up 4-2. Komatsu singled and scored on a one-out single from Chris Marrero.
Komatsu was at it again in the bottom of the sixth inning, capping off his mammoth performance with a solo homer down the right-field line that put the Chiefs up 5-2.
With Komatsu and the rest of the offense rolling, Chiefs starter Zach Duke held up his end of the bargain on the mound. He battled his way through eight innings, scattering seven hits and two runs. Duke earned his eighth win in his last 11 starts to improve his record to 9-3 on the year.
Henry Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his second save of the win streak.
The Chiefs wrap up their 20-game homestand Monday night against the Braves at 7:00. Mitch Atkins is scheduled to start for Syracuse. Gwinnett is set to counter with Eric Junge.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.