Syracuse, NY (August 28, 2017) - Neftali Soto anticipated his future while waiting on the field for a post-game interview.
"Cold water is coming," Soto said.
Irving Falu followed by dumping a bucket of water on Syracuse's star of the night. And for good reason.
Soto was spectacular for the Syracuse Chiefs in a 7-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Monday night, hitting two home runs in the win.
Esmil Rogers struck out ten IronPigs for the second start in a row. The 32-year-old allowed just one unearned run in five innings. The ten strikeouts tied his career high.
But the game could have been much different.
Lehigh Valley (74-61) opened up the top of the first inning when Scott Kingery was hit by Rogers' pitch. J.P. Crawford then hit a ground ball back to the mound, Rogers looked to second to initiate a double play, but his throw was wide of the bag. That put runners on first and second on the throwing error.
Cameron Perkins followed with a deep fly ball off the left-center-field wall, plating Kingery for a 1-0 lead.
From there, the IronPigs loaded the bases after Brock Stassi walked, still with nobody out. Rogers then came up huge for the Chiefs, striking out three straight batters to retire the side.
That was the last time Lehigh Valley led.
Syracuse (52-83) responded with a two-run bottom of the first. With one out, Snyder singled off Joey DeNato to center. Soto then knocked the first pitch over the right-center-field fence for a two-run home run, giving the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
The Chiefs tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth. Pedro Severino singled to center to lead off the inning. Michael Almanzar followed with a ground-ball single to right, moving Severino to second. Two batters later, Bengie Gonzalez walked, loading the bases. Rogers then helped his own cause, grounding a single into left, scoring Severino and giving Syracuse a 3-1 lead.
Syracuse broke the game open with a four-run bottom of the seventh. Gonzalez led off the inning with a single to center. Two batters later, Falu singled to right. The ball went under the glove of Perkins, allowing the runners to move up a base on the error. Gonzalez then scored on Snyder's sacrifice fly. Soto then crushed a fly ball over the left-field fence to give Syracuse a 5-1 lead.
On August 22nd, during Syracuse's last series versus Lehigh Valley, Snyder and Matt Skole launched back-to-back home runs in a 7-4 win. This time, after Soto homered, Skole blasted a home run to right, for a 7-1 Chiefs lead. It marked the fifth set of back-to-back home runs for the Chiefs this year.
The IronPigs added two runs in the top of the eighth. With two outs, Andrew Pullin walked and stole second. Logan Moore followed with a home run to right-center-field, plating Pullin and putting the IronPigs within four.
But they would get no closer.
Syracuse returns to action Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. John Simms is set to start for the Chiefs while Jake Thompson is slated to pitch for the IronPigs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.