The Syracuse Chiefs jumped out to an early lead and beat the Rochester Red Wings 6-4 Friday night at Frontier Field, before a sellout crowd of 11,215. The loss dropped the Wings five games behind the first place Chiefs.
Kris Johnson took the mound to start for the Red Wings. Going into Friday's contest, Johnson had not lost at home, going 6-0 at Frontier Field with a 2.28 home ERA. The last time Johnson had faced off against the Chiefs, he allowed four earned runs on eight hits, but struck out eight.
Johnson's mound opponent, A.J. Cole, spent the beginning of the season with Double-A Harrisburg and has posted a 4-0 record and 2.87 ERA since joining Syracuse at Triple-A. His last appearance came on August 10 in a win against Louisville, where he pitched seven innings and gave up just one run on nine hits.
The Wings found themselves in hot water early Friday night when Emmanuel Burriss singled off the very first pitch Johnson threw. Jeff Kobernus then sent a long shot over the left field fence to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead just two batters into the game. Johnson walked Tyler Moore and Eury Perez snuck a double past a diving Eric Farris to put the Chiefs in scoring position again. Perez came home on Jhonatan Solano's ground out at first.
Doug Bernier led off with a single in the Wings' half of the first, but Cole retired the next three batters.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, Pedro Florimon's triple down the right field line platedAaron Hicks, who had singled, to bring the score to 3-1.
The Wings' offense saw a much-needed spark in the third that began when James Beresfordpicked up his 27th double of the season. Josmil Pinto and Chris Colabello then hit back-to-back home runs, both over the center field wall, to give the Wings a 4-3 advantage. Colabello's shot was his eighth of the season and second this week, the first coming in Monday's 5-4 win over Durham.
In the fourth, Florimon and Farris both singled to give the Wings runners on first and third with one out. Bernier tried to bring in Florimon with a safety squeeze, but Syracuse catcher Solano made the play at the plate for the second out. Beresford's fly out ended the inning, stranding Farris and Bernier.
The Chiefs took advantage of the Wings' misstep and regained the lead in the top of the fifth.Sandy Leon walked and Jose Lozada notched a base hit before Burriss' sacrifice play sent Leon home to even the score. Brandon Laird then hit his 15th home run of the season with Lozada on base to put the Chiefs up 6-4.
Mitch Lively replaced Cole on the mound in the bottom of the sixth, with Cole giving up nine hits and four runs on 91 pitches. Lively struck out two Wings in his first inning.
Johnson exited the game after 6 2/3 innings, having conceded nine hits and six runs. Johnson threw 106 pitches, 61 for strikes. Stephen Pryor closed the seventh inning with a strikeout.
Matt Grace came in to finish the seventh inning for Lively.
Pryor struck out four in his 2 1/3 relief innings.