The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost 3-1 in the opener of a four-game series at the Pawtucket Red Sox on Monday night. Right-hander Taylor Hill allowed just two runs in five and two-thirds innings in the game, but three Pawtucket pitchers combined to hold the Chiefs to one run.
Pawtucket (12-7) struck early with a two-run inning against Hill. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Blake Swihart started the inning with singles, and Travis Shaw followed with a walk to load the bases. Left fielder Bryce Brentz cracked the scoring column with a single to center field, scoring Bradley. After a pair of strikeouts, Hill allowed an RBI single to Quintin Berry, but a relay started by right fielder Matt den Dekker cut down Shaw at the plate.
Syracuse (6-12) sliced the lead in half with a third-inning run off left-hander Brian Johnson. Former Red Sox catcher Dan Butler started the inning with a walk, and Cutter Dykstra followed with a bunt single on the next pitch. Michael Taylor then walked to load the bases with no outs. After a Tony Gwynn fly out, third baseman Ian Stewart knocked a sacrifice fly into left field, cutting the score to 2-1.
That score held until the eighth inning, when Pawtucket grabbed an insurance run against right-hander Eric Fornataro. With two outs and Garin Cecchini on second base, Berry grounded a run-scoring single up the middle, plating Cecchini for a 3-1 Pawtucket advantage.
In the ninth, Butler singled to lead off the inning against Tommy Layne, putting the tying run at the plate. Layne, however, retired the next three hitters in order to close out the game.
The Chiefs and Red Sox play the second game in their four-game set Tuesday night at 6:15 at McCoy Stadium. Right-hander A.J. Cole is scheduled to start for Syracuse against a Pawtucket pitcher to be named later.