Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bisons Snap Chiefs Streak, 7-5

Story by Aubrie Tolliver.

Photo by Jacqueline Mundry.

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— They say baseball is a game of streaks.

The Syracuse Chiefs were three outs away from a five-game winning streak.

The Buffalo Bisons were three outs away from an 11-game losing streak, the worst in the team's modern era.

Both streaks were snapped, as the Bisons scored three times in the top of the ninth to beat the Chiefs 7-5 Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium.

Four-straight hits for the Bisons gave the team the late lead, which it kept. Buffalo's record improves to 35-40 on the season. The Chiefs’ record dropped to 26-47.

Too many pitches

Chiefs’ starter A.J. Cole struggled to settle in, throwing 45 pitches in the first inning, giving up two walks and a hit. He got through the jam unscathed by striking out a couple of Bisons for the first and third outs.

Buffalo, however, got to Cole in the following two innings.

In the second, the team plated two runs on two Chiefs' errors. And the next inning, three-straight singles brought home another two. It was 4-0 Bisons after three.

Chiefs rally

But, the Syracuse bats continued to be trouble for the Bison pitching staff. In the bottom of the third, Andrew Stevenson blasted his first homer of the year over the right-field fence, which ignited the rest of the offense.

A single and hit-by-pitch set the table for Jhonatan Solano, who pulled the ball down the left-field line for a double—his first hit since June 18. The Chiefs inched closer, 4-3.

The comeback was complete the next inning when Caleb Ramsey scored on a Stevenson single through the right side. Stevenson was 3-3 at that point in the game.

Chiefs go ahead, but Bisons turn the tables

Irving Falu gave his team the lead in the fifth by legging out a triple, which scored Alejandro De Aza—another timely hit. The score remained 5-4 in favor of the Chiefs until the Bisons decided to get some clutch hits of their own.

Single, single, double, single is how it happened. Chiefs’ reliever Wander Suero gave up four-consecutive hits in the top of the ninth, which brought home three runs. After that, Rafael Martin stepped onto the mound and got the inning-ending double play.

But, the damage was done. A near-perfect inning by closer Chris Smith gave the Bisons the 7-5 victory.


In an interview back in early May, Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said the team was lacking those clutch hits, which he said led to a losing skid.

"We've got to get a few of our guys that we thought would hit to start cooking a little bit,” Gardner said on May 2.

This series, the Chiefs had two walk-off wins from two different players. Robinson hit .533 this series—despite going 0-4 Sunday at the plate. And, Stevenson finished 3-5 on Sunday.

One would have to imagine that is what Gardner meant “cooking”.

“This past stretch has been pretty fun,” said Stevenson in a post-game interview. “We’re just getting timely hits and the pitching has been great. If you can get both of those things that normally equals a win.”

The Chiefs are looking to keep offense and pitching alive, as they are set to begin a four-game series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Buffalo snaps ten game losing streak

Photos by Jacqueline Mundry

SYRACUSE N.Y. -- The Syracuse Chiefs four game hot streak came to an end on Sunday afternoon when they were defeated by the Buffalo Bisons 7-5. The Bisons ended a ten-game losing streak on Sunday.

After the game kids were invited on the field to run the bases at NBT Bank Stadium.

The Chiefs will continue their home stand Monday night against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The Bisons will head home for a doubleheader on Monday beginning at 5:35 against the Rochester Red Wings.

Here is a look at Sunday's game in photos. Click on any picture to start slide show.


Four in a Row: Chiefs knock off Bisons 6-5

Story by Mike Drew

Photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Saturday was "Re-Opening Day" at NBT Bank Stadium, which as it turns out was fitting.

Lately, the Syracuse Chiefs (26-46) have been playing like a different team, winning four games in a row, their longest winning streak since mid-April.

Conversely, the Buffalo Bisons (34-40) have been in a horrible rut, losing 10 straight and 17 of their last 20.

Both trends continued.

The Chiefs came out 6-5 winners in a back-and-forth game that ended on right fielder Alejandro De Aza's walk-off single into the gap in right-center.

"We're in this kind of click of force right now," Chiefs Manager Billy Gardner said. "We're pitching better, we're playing good defense and we've been getting some big hits."

Striking Early

The Chiefs knocked out Buffalo starter Brett Oberholtzer in the second inning before he had even gotten an out in the frame.

Five straight singles created a rally, the last two by Second Baseman Emmanuel Burriss and Center Fielder Andrew Stevenson each drove in a run.

Shortstop Adrian Sanchez followed with a bases-loaded walk to score the third run of the inning and hand the Chiefs what looked like a comfortable lead.

"I thought we were patient," Gardner said. "We stayed square with the ball and used the whole field."

Striking Back

All went according to plan for Syracuse starter Greg Ross until the top of the third.

That's when Buffalo catcher Raffy Lopez stepped to the plate with two on and two out.

He crushed a three-run homer over the right-field fence to tie the game at three (for what it's worth, he was also 3-for-4 last night).

In the sixth, Lopez continued to terrorize Chiefs pitching.

He launched a solo shot to center to give the Bisons their first lead of the night at 4-3.

Designated hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped a sacrifice fly later in the inning to extend the lead to two runs.

Refusing to Quit

The Chiefs put a stop to Buffalo's momentum right away.

In the bottom of the sixth, Burriss led off with his third single of the night. He scored on an RBI ground-out by left fielder Brandon Snyder.

Designated hitter Clint Robinson then came to the plate with two out and the tying run at third. He reached and out and blooped a game-tying single to left to even the game at 5-5.

"We've got a little bit of momentum here," Robinson said. "I was just trying to stay aggressive, come out and put together good at-bats."

Walking Off

The Chiefs bullpen held Buffalo scoreless over the final three innings.

Bisons reliever John Stilson walked Snyder to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Robinson followed with a single, advancing the winning run to third.

"He got behind, so I knew I was probably going to get a pitch to hit right there," Robinson said. "You don't want to walk two guys in a row to start the ninth, so I was just trying to hit it hard."

Then, first baseman Neftali Soto was intentionally walked to load the bases, sending up De Aza.

As soon as he made contact, there was no doubt he had won the game. His "single" would've easily been good for two or even three bases in any other situation.

What's Next

The two teams are back at it Sunday to wrap up the four-game series at 1:05. Syracuse will go for the sweep behind right-hander A.J. Cole (3-2, 5.68 ERA). Buffalo counters with lefty T.J. House (6-6, 3.70 ERA).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Photos: Chiefs Walkoff the Bisons, Take Game Three of Series

Syracuse, N.Y. -- The line for Perry's Ice Cream was on average 15 people deep, a telltale sign of warm summer night at NBT Bank Stadium.

Warm weather tends to bring out a bigger, more electric crowd. Winning tends to do that also. Both elements were present tonight.

The Syracuse Chiefs sealed the series victory over the Buffalo Bisons via walkoff with an Alejandro De Aza single Saturday night at NBT Bank Stadium.  The 6-5 victory improved the Chiefs' winning streak to four.

Here is what the night looked like through the lens of Aubrie Tolliver.

Click any photo to begin slideshow.