Syracuse, NY (June 10, 2011) - The last game of the four-game series was Friday night. Dave Sappelt was back in the lineup after spending over a month rehabbing his oblique in Arizona, and he played well (2 for 6 with a double), but the POTG was clearly Devin Mesoraco. He was a double short of the cycle: 3 for 5 with a triple and a home run. Two runs scored, 3 RBIs.
And eyes that look right through you.
The hot-hitting Zack Cozart waits in the on-deck circle.
I was actually trying to photograph the guy behind him. He looked familiar. Could it be...? Yes! It's the long-lost Dave Sappelt!
He was in the lineup, in the two-hole. That pushed Chris Valaika from 2nd to 8th.
Todd Frazier was still not in the lineup. He coached first base again.
Jordan Smith, hanging out with Frazier before the game.
Kris Negron was not in the lineup, but he was as bouncy and enthusiastic as ever.
Brad Meyers took the mound for the Chiefs.
Sappelt got off to a great start.
He hit a double, scoring Cozart (who had gotten on via a leadoff single).
Valaika popped out to end the inning, but not before sending a foul ball into Jesus Flores' face.
The game was delayed while the trainer came out to examine Flores. He ended up staying in the game, to a loud ovation. Reds were up 3-0. But not for long.
Scott Carroll started for the Bats.
The strategery apparently left something to be desired. Marrero hit a home run...
Game tied, 3-3.
Valdez doubled. Corey Brown reached on a Valaika fielding error, then stole 2B.
Louisville took the lead again in the third, on a Mesoraco home run.
Left fielder Jesus Valdez can't get it.
Hermida singled, as did Juan Francisco.
They were stranded. 4-3 Bats.
Cozart singled in the 4th.
Dave Sappelt was the Taco Bell K-Man of the night. The rowdy Friday night crowd went nuts whenever he came to bat. Heck, some of them started when he was in the on-deck circle.
Taco! Taco! Taaaaaaaa-co! With a few Ay, Chalupas throw in.
He singled. No tacos yet.
Mesoraco popped out, ending the inning and stranding the runners. Still 4-3 Bats.
The Chiefs tied it up again in the bottom of the 4th. Matt Antonelli walked. Tug Hulett hit a double. 4-4.
Danny Dorn gave away a ton of balls. Not just to kids, either. He didn't give me one, though. Jerk!
Negron pinch-hit in the 6th, and singled.
Cozart popped out, and Sappelt struck out. The crowd went crazy, of course. Free tacos!
(I think the fans were actually disappointed that he struck out, since that meant there was no reason to keep heckling him. Then they decided to keep heckling him anyway. They yelled "Taco!" at him the rest of the night.)
Alonso singled. Then Mesoraco tripled.
Dorn singled in the 7th, and Valaika reached on an error.
Corky Miller and his magnificent facial hair.
The Chiefs mounted a rally in the bottom of the 9th. A walk, a force out, then a double by Tug Hulett made it two outs, runners on 2B and 3B. But Christiani struck out Marrero looking.
Bats win, 6-4.
Dontrelle Willis did his leaping chest bumps again.
The Syracuse fans seemed pleased to have split the four-game series. The Chiefs were cellar-dwellers in their division, while the Bats were atop theirs. As I left, I heard fans talking about how Louisville had 4 of the top ten hitters in the IL, and how surprising it was that the Chiefs managed a split.
1. The Chiefs were in a 1-for-9 skid when the series started.
2. Zack Cozart tied his career high hitting streak in Tuesday's game (13 games) and set a new career high on Wednesday (14 games). The streak would eventually end at 17 games.
3. Todd Frazier was out of the lineup for every game of the series. He pinch-hit, but did not stay in the game. He didn't look injured, but I think he must be. He's been out of the starting lineup since June 6, and still is.
4. The crowd was smaller than I expected. Even on Friday night, there were plenty of good seats still available. Not sure if it's the economy, the excitement about being affiliated with the Nats wearing off, or the lack of Strasburg, but crowds were thin, and the locals seemed disappointed at how few buns were in the seats.