The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Rochester Red Wings, 6-4, on Friday night at Frontier Field. With the victory, the Chiefs moved two games ahead of Pawtucket and five ahead of Rochester in the International League North.
Syracuse (72-53) began this pivotal four-game series by racing out to a 3-0 lead before the Red Wings had the chance to hit. Following an Emmanuel Burriss leadoff single, Chiefs second baseman Jeff Kobernus connected off Rochester starter Kris Johnson for a two-run home run to left-center. The round-tripper was Kobernus' second of the season. Later in the frame, Jhonatan Solano brought home Tyler Moore from third with a groundout, capping the scoring for Syracuse.
Rochester (68-59) cut into the deficit in the second inning against Chiefs right-hander A.J. Cole. With center fielder Aaron Hicks aboard with two outs, Rochester shortstop Pedro Florimon sent a triple down the right-field line, plating the only run the Red Wings would score in the frame.
Rochester's early offensive success continued into the third, where it would take the lead. Second baseman James Beresford doubled with one out, bringing Josmil Pinto, Rochester's catcher, to the plate. On a 1-1 pitch, Pinto homered over the right-centerfield wall, tying the score at three. The next batter, first baseman Chris Colabello, deposited an offering from Cole over the wall in dead center, homering to give the Red Wings their only lead of the evening.
Down 4-3 in the fifth, Syracuse rallied for what proved to be the game-winning runs. Sandy Leon walked to begin the inning and moved to second on a single from Jose Lozada. After Burriss moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, Kobernus knotted the game with an RBI groundout, his third run driven in of the contest. The draw was short-lived, as Brandon Laird lifted a fly ball over wall in left to put the Chiefs ahead for good, 6-4. The home run was the third baseman's 15th of the year and vaulted him into a tie with Charlotte's Andy Wilkins for the league lead in RBIs with 76.
Neither side would score again, as Cole threw a scoreless fifth, the last frame he would toss. The right-hander's five-inning effort earned him his fifth win with the Chiefs, against no losses. Mitch Lively, Matt Grace, Manny Delcarmen and Rafael Martin finished the game with four scoreless innings of relief for Syracuse. Martin's sixth save extended his scoreless streak to 45.1 innings pitched.
Syracuse moved two games ahead of Pawtucket in the division after the Red Sox lost to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The series with Rochester continues Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. as the Chiefs will send right-hander Taylor Hill to the mound against Red Wings left-hander Logan Darnell.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.