The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Durham Bulls Tuesday night at Alliance Bank Stadium. The Chiefs won game one 4-2, but dropped the nightcap 2-1.
In game one, Syracuse (11-21) made sure to light up Alliance Bank Stadium's brand-new, state-of-the-art scoreboard which debuted Tuesday. Left fielder Xavier Paul led off the bottom of the second and belted a home run beyond the family park area in right field for his first homer of 2012.
Paul's hit was the first of four in the frame for the Chiefs. Brett Carroll followed Paul with a hard-hit single to left and came around to score on a Carlos Maldonado double. After a Seth Bynum groundout advanced Maldonado to third, Josh Johnson provided a run-scoring single to right to give Syracuse a 3-0 lead.
Durham (12-21) responded right away in the top of the third with two runs. First baseman Juan Miranda started the inning off with a walk. Cole Figueroa proceeded to single next, moving Miranda to second. A Shawn O'Malley sacrifice bunt put both in scoring position.
Kyle Hudson's one-out single to right put the Bulls on the scoreboard, as Miranda touched home. Durham pulled to within a run at 3-2 when Jeff Salazar grounded out to second, but drove in Figueroa.
Those, however, were the only two runs the visitors could muster against Syracuse left-handed starter Zach Duke. Facing a Bulls lineup that featured eight lefty batters and a switch-hitter, Duke pitched a complete game in the abbreviated seven-inning affair. The former Major League All-Star allowed a mere three hits while fanning five and walking only one.
One bad inning doomed the Chiefs in their game two loss. After starter Mitch Atkins allowed just one hit over the first four innings, Durham touched him up for the Bulls' only two runs of the game in the fifth, on a bases-loaded two-run single by Craig Albernaz.
Atkins left the game after tossing five innings of four-hit ball. He struck out four Bulls and walked two.
Meanwhile, Durham starter Chris Archer was brilliant. He allowed a run on three hits in the first inning, with Carlos Rivero driving home Paul on a groundout. But after a leadoff hit in the second, the righty retired 12 straight Chiefs at one point en route to six sparkling innings. Archer scattered four hits over those six frames, while striking out five.
Dane De La Rosa pitched a scoreless seventh to preserve the split for Durham.
The Chiefs and Bulls meet again Wednesday night at 7:00. Nationals right-hander Chien Ming-Wang is scheduled to make a rehab start for Syracuse. Durham is scheduled to counter with righty Alex Cobb.