Chiefs Walk Red Wings Off on Friday

Published on May 13, 2018

Story and photo by Corey Crisan

Syracuse, N.Y. — Returning home from splitting a six-game road trip, the Chiefs began its weekend series in the win column with a 4-3 win in extra innings over the Rochester Red Wings.

As the Minor League Baseball season ebbs and flows, one expected caveat is for teams to see significant roster turnover. Given the Triple-A level’s makeup of 40-man roster spillovers, developing prospects, and veterans looking to play for contracts and a return to the majors, its rare for exceptions to this concept to be applied. The Syracuse Chiefs have experienced this 12 times over the past week, but the first place International League Northerners continued to roll on Friday at NBT Bank Stadium.

Quick Scoring

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the first inning. Veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza continued his league-high on-base streak as he extended it to 17 games. A two-out RBI single scored Matt Reynolds, who walked earlier in the inning.

After Rochester failed to move a runner past first base in the second and third innings, Syracuse found a way to extend its lead thanks to two of the aforementioned newcomers to the roster. Matt Reynolds doubled with one out, then Matt Hague brought him in with a single up the middle with two down to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead at the time.

Chiefs starter Edwin Jackson was sharp through the first four innings on Friday. He faced one batter above the minimum in that span – the only blemish being a single by the Red Wings’ Brock Stassi in the second inning. That changed in the fifth inning as Rochester worked to tie the game up with some power and well-placed hits.

Brock Stassi led off the frame with a bloop-double down the left field line. On the next pitch, Willians Astudillo tripled into deep center field – a play that Chiefs newcomer Hunter Jones could not make – to bring in Stassi and cut the Chiefs lead to 2-1. Taylor Featherston brought in Astudillo with a sacrifice fly to tie the game after four and a half innings of play. Their lead, however, did not last very long.

Back and Forth

Matt Reynolds was sent back to Syracuse from the parent Washington Nationals on Wednesday. In his first game as a Chief, Reynolds reached base safely three of four times, scored three runs, and contributed two extra-base hits. he scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning via his solo home run to right field. The Chiefs held a 3-2 lead after that frame, but just as Rochester’s lead was short-lived into the fifth, Syracuse’s was the same heading into the sixth.

After Nick Buss flew out, Leonardo Reginatto and Jake Cave nailed back-to-back singles for Rochester. Kennys Vargas then walked to load the bases for Brock Stassi, who was 2-for-2 against Edwin Jackson at the time. Stassi hit a hard grounder to Jacob Wilson at first base, but Wilson bobbled the ball and was only able to get the runner out at second. Reginatto scored on the fielder’s choice, tying the game at three apiece.

That was all the scoring until bonus baseball began. With new extra inning rules across the MiLB, Rochester began the inning with a runner on second base. Rochester’s top of the order failed to move him past that spot, giving Syracuse a chance for a walk-off winner.

Fireworks Friday

Syracuse seized the chance.

With Bengie Gonzalez beginning the inning as the designated runner on second, Jacob Wilson was intentionally walked to set up a force out at all three bases. Michael Almanzar then dropped a bunt down, but Red Wings reliever DJ Baxendale fielded the ball and made a clean throw to third to get the lead runner out.

Newly-called up outfielder Hunter Jones stepped in with runners on first and second base and one out on the board.

Jones ripped a double off the right-center field wall, scoring Wilson from second and giving the Chiefs the 4-3 victory on a fireworks Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium.

What’s Next

Syracuse (12-7) and Rochester (7-10) continue its series in Syracuse on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM as Rochester’s Aaron Slegers (1-0, 2.00 ERA) will oppose Syracuse’s Cesar Vargas (0-1, 2.25). The teams will conclude its series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. before the Chiefs head to Lehigh Valley for a road series.