May 31, 2013 - International League (IL) - Syracuse Chiefs
Pawtucket, RI - The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, dropped a 12-inning heartbreaker to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 9-8, on Friday night. Third baseman Jonathan Diaz knocked in the game-winning run with an RBI single against Mike Crotta, handing Pawtucket the win in the Chiefs' professional-baseball-leading 13th extra-inning game of the season.
In the fateful 12th, Justin Henry led off the inning by reaching base on a Will Rhymes fielding error - one of five Chiefs errors in the game. After a Ronald Bermudez sacrifice bunt, Crotta intentionally walked Brock Holt to get to Diaz. Pawtucket's ninth-place hitter followed up by lining a 1-1 pitch into center field, sending home Henry with the game-winning run.
Syracuse (23-31) struck first in the first inning in the series opener. The first batter of the game, Eury Perez, bounded a tall chopper to the left side of the infield for a single. Two pitches later from Pawtucket starter Chris Hernandez, Chris Rahl stroked a single to right to move Perez to second. After a successful sacrifice bunt from Rhymes, first baseman Chris Marrero blasted a two-run double to right-center field to score the first two runs of the game. Left fielder Corey Brown followed with a double to left to push the Chiefs' lead to 3-0.
In the bottom of the first, Pawtucket (32-23) recouped one of the runs. Jeremy Hazelbaker opened the inning with a single to right past first baseman Chris Marrero. With Drew Sutton at the plate, Hazelbaker stole second base and reached third on a throwing error from catcher Kris Watts. Next, catcher Ryan Lavarnway singled Hazelbaker home for the first Red Sox run of the night.
The Chiefs reacted with a two-out run in the top of the third. With Rhymes at second and Brown at first--both on base because of a walk - designated hitter Micah Owings slashed a ball to left field. Bermudez twisted his body to follow the ball into left-center but couldn't make the catch. Rhymes scored on the error and the Chiefs grabbed a 4-1 advantage.
Pawtucket, though, retaliated in the home half of the fourth. Syracuse starter Yunesky Maya hit Bermudez on a 1-2 pitch. Then, on a hit-and-run, Holt singled to right, pushing Bermudez to third. On the next pitch, Diaz doubled to left, scoring Bermudez.
Maya would then leave the game with an apparent injury, leaving Michael Broadway to enter the game out of the bullpen for his second Syracuse game. The right-hander immediately extinguished the threat by retiring the next three batters on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout. Broadway followed that up with two more perfect innings, striking out five of the nine batters he faced.
The Chiefs' offense, meanwhile, plated what looked to be an insurance run in the seventh inning. In the top of the frame, Perez doubled to right field against right-hander Chris Martin and advanced to third base with one out on a fly out by Rahl. Rhymes followed up with a high chopper to right field over a drawn-in infield, scoring Perez on his single for a 5-2 lead.
The Red Sox, however, followed with a flourish against Tanner Roark and Xavier Cedeno in the bottom of the inning. Hazelbaker reached on a Marrero error to lead off the inning before Drew Sutton singled him to second base. Two batters later, Bryce Brentz hit a fly ball to left field that Corey Brown couldn't handle after a near-collision with shortstop Zach Walters, allowing Hazelbaker to score from third base. Brown, however, forced out Sutton at second base for the inning's second out on the play.
Tony Beasley then summoned Cedeno to face left-hander Mitch Maier, who greeted the Syracuse southpaw with a two-run home run to tie the score at five. After a walk to Henry and a wild pitch, Bermudez lined a run-scoring single into right field to give Pawtucket a 6-5 lead.
Syracuse, once more, had an answer. Zach Walters began the eighth inning with an infield single against right-hander Oscar Villarreal, and two batters later, Kris Watts was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout of Perez, Rahl blasted a first pitch from Villarreal off the wall in straightaway center field, scoring both base runners for a 7-6 lead. The double was Rahl's third hit of the game in five at-bats. Rhymes followed up with his third hit of the game, a run-scoring double into right field to put the Chiefs up by a pair.
The lead wouldn't last long. Ryan Perry entered for the bottom of the inning and walked Diaz to start the frame. Two batters later, Sutton blasted his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to right-center field that tied the game at eight. Those runs were the last scored until Diaz's walkoff single in the 12th.
The Chiefs and Red Sox will play the second game of their four-game series on Saturday night at 6:05. Chiefs right-hander Ryan Tatusko and Red Sox right-hander Allen Webster are the scheduled starters.