PawSox Take Opener Over Chiefs
Published on May 3, 2017
Story by Robert Schiff
Photos by Aubrie Tolliver
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After salvaging the final game of a six-game road trip with a win against Norfolk on Sunday, the Chiefs found themselves back in the loss column, dropping the series opener against the Pawtucket Red Sox, 3-1, at NBT Bank Stadium on Tuesday night.
On a chilly night (52 degrees and 15mph wind at the first pitch) that had spectators and players bundled up, the Chiefs (9-13) could not find an answer for Red Sox starter Brian Johnson. After giving up a leadoff single in the 1st inning, the 26 year-old lefty retired 13 straight batters, before Chiefs’ catcher Pedro Severino drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Johnson didn’t allow another hit until the bottom of the 8th, when Chiefs’ second baseman Grant Green fought off a tough pitch and blooped a single into short right field. In his most impressive start of the season, Johnson lasted eight innings, giving up only two hits and striking out six, while earning his first victory of the year.
While Brian Johnson’s performance was the talk of the night, Chiefs’ starter Austin Voth pitched well for Syracuse, tossing a season-high seven innings. His first mistake came against Red Sox left fielder Steve Selsky, who crushed his first home run of the season over the left field fence.
Voth struck out the side in order in the third, but ran into more trouble in the 5th. After giving up a double to Jantzen Witte, and a walk to catcher Dan Butler, right fielder Aneury Tavarez smacked an RBI double down the third base line. The next batter, Deven Marrero blooped a single into shallow center field, just out of reach of a diving Andrew Stevenson, as Pawtucket extended its lead to 3-0.
One and Done
The Chiefs finally got on the board in the bottom of the 8th. After the designated hitter Corban Joseph drew a one-out walk, Grant Green singled, moving Joseph to third. He eventually scored on a s sac fly by the shortstop Adrian Sanchez.
The Chiefs got the tying run to the plate in the 9th after left fielder Brandon Snyder drew a two-out walk, but third baseman Matt Skole’s weak fly ball to center field ended the short-lived rally, and the game for Syracuse.
In his first game at the Triple-A level, the newest Chief made his presence felt immediately. Andrew Stevenson led the game off for Syracuse with a line drive single, much to the delight of the fans, who were excited to see the Nationals’ fifth-ranked prospect in action. Stevenson sported a .350 average in 80 at-bats with Double-A Harrisburg, and had back-to-back five-hit games a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s always kind of a dream to just keep moving, and try to get to the big leagues,” Stevenson said. “I’m one step closer, and I’m just going to keep working to try to get that ultimate goal.”
The Chiefs have now lost six out of their last seven games, and find themselves in last place in the International League North, five games behind the Buffalo Bisons. The Chiefs continue their series with Pawtucket on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m.