SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A desperate team, a desperate time, called for a desperate play and the Syracuse SkyChiefs pulled it off to perfection in a 6-5 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens last night in front of 7,033 fans at P&C Stadium.
It was a suicide squeeze play with the game tied in the eighth inning.
Jimmy Alvarez tripled home the tying run and scored the game winner on a suicide squeeze.
“We had the right guy at the right time,” Syracuse manager Omar Malave said. “We had the momentum after tying the game so we went for it and I'm glad it worked out. I had the confidence that with [Jorge] Sequea at the plate that he would put the ball in play no matter who was pitching.”
Kurt Keene had opened the inning with a single to center off of Mud Hens reliever Franklyn German (1-2). German threw a wild pitch and Ken Huckaby laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Keene to third.
With Keene on third, Alvarez ripped a triple to the right-center field wall, scoring Keene and tying the game. Sequea then laid down a bunt as Alvarez ran for home for the game winner.
“We saw it coming,” Toledo manager Larry Parrish admitted. “We thought of pitching out. It was a perfect situation. There was a guy at the plate that could handle a bat and a guy on third that could run. It's one of those [situations] that as a manager you second guess yourself. To me that wasn't the play that hurt us. It was the runs that scored before that play.”
What else hurt the Mud Hens was allowing Syracuse back in the game after Patrick Lennon had hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to right in the eighth, after the SkyChiefs took their first lead of the game in the seventh.
Toledo starter Nate Robertson was riding a two-run lead heading into the seventh. Robertson gave up three consecutive singles to start the seventh and left the game in favor of Jason Jimenez.
With one out the Mud Hens loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Mike Colangelo, who did not have a hit in the game, to pitch to Gary Burnham who had singled in the second and the fourth.
Burnham came through once again with a two-run single to right, scoring Alvarez from second and Sequea from first.
Hiram Bocachica had the three singles while Brant Ust had two doubles and a single as Toledo pounded out 13 hits.
Syracuse had 14 hits as Jeff Tam (1-0) earned the win in relief.