The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 7-6, in Game three of the Governor's Cup semifinals on Friday. The Red Sox sweep the series and head to the Governor's Cup finals to take on the winner of the Columbus/Durham series next week.
Syracuse struck first in the bottom of the second inning against left-hander Henry Owens. With one out in the inning, first baseman Matt Skole walked and right fielder Eury Perez singled to right field to put two runners on base for Will Rhymes. The second baseman doubled down the right-field line to score Skole and Perez and get Syracuse on board. After a Josh Johnson fly out, shortstop Emmanuel Burriss homered to right field to double the Chiefs' lead, 4-0.
Pawtucket got on the board in the top of the third inning against right-hander Mitch Lively. Catcher Blake Swihart walked on four pitches to lead off the inning. After a Deven Marrero walk, right fielder Alex Hassan grounded the ball to Burriss, who threw to Rhymes on second for the first half of the double play. However, Rhymes threw the ball past Skole for an error, allowing Swihart to score from third. After a Ryan Roberts fly out, first baseman Travis Shaw walked and left fielder Bryce Brentz singled to center field to score Hassan and cut the Syracuse lead in half, 4-2.
The Red Sox cut in the Chiefs' lead again in the top of the fourth inning against Lively. Center fielder Corey Brown singled to center field to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Hassan doubled off the wall in left-center field to score Brown and trim the Syracuse lead to one.
The Chiefs added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning against Owens. Rhymes led off the inning with a single to right field and left fielder Josh Johnson walked. Burriss followed and singled on a bunt towards third base to load the bases. After a Michael Taylor strikeout, third baseman Brandon Laird hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Rhymes on the play and giving the Chiefs a 5-3 lead.
Pawtucket cut the lead in half again in the top of the sixth inning against right-hander Ross Ohlendorf. Brown led off the inning off by crushing the first pitch from Ohlendorf over the fence in right-center. The home run was Brown's first of the postseason and his 18th long ball of the year for Pawtucket.
Syracuse put another one on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning against right-hander Dalier Hinojosa. Burriss led off the inning with a bunt single towards first base. After a Taylor groundout moved Burriss to second, Laird knocked him in with a single past a diving Deven Marrero at short to increase the Chiefs lead back to two.
The Red Sox rallied all the way back in the top of the seventh inning against left-hander Matt Grace. With one out in the inning, Shaw singled to left field and Brentz doubled to the deepest part of left-center to put runners on second and third for Ryan Lavarnway The designated hitter hit a bloop single to center field to score Shaw and Brentz and tie the game at six. After a Will Rhymes error allowed third baseman Garin Cecchini reach first base and a Brown strikeout, Swihart hit a grounder to Burriss, whose throw was late to first and gave Pawtucket their first lead of the night, 7-6.
Pawtucket's relievers shut down the Chiefs' bats for the final nine outs of the game. Right-handers Jose Valdez and Heath Hembree only allowed four base runners the rest of the way.
The Chiefs ended their regular season with a 81-62 record, the team's best since 1989. Information on Syracuse's 2015 schedule will officially be released soon.