Slowly but surely, the Syracuse Chiefs continue to pull their way up the ladder in the International League's North Division standings.
After winning three straight over the Charlotte Knights here at Alliance Bank Stadium last week, the Chiefs found themselves in fourth place with a record of 22-25, just three games below .500.
The near-sweep of the Chicago White Sox's top farmhands was marred only by a 5-3 loss on Sunday, May 29, in a game that saw three Chiefs ejected by home-plate umpire Gerard Ascani. Manager Randy Knorr, pitching coach Greg Booker and center fielder Corey Brown were all sent to the clubhouse early for arguing about Ascani's strike zone.
Fireworks in the sky followed the fireworks in the game.
Natural pyrotechnics interrupted the Chiefs three straight victories when thunder and lightning presaged a deluge on Friday night, May 27. With the score knotted at six, the umps postponed the game prior to the top of the ninth.
The next evening Chiefs reliever Jeff Mandel won the game 8-7 after having blown a save by allowing three runs in the top of the eighth Friday night and another in the top of the ninth on Saturday. The Chiefs finally won in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday after Hulett homered to tie it again, Valdez singled, moved to second base on a wild pitch, and Chris Marrero's soft single to right broke the tie.
The night before the thunderstorm, on May 26, rookie right-hander Brad Meyers handily beat Charlotte 9-1 by scattering seven hits over six innings. The Chiefs batted around for a five-run second inning highlighted by a home run by Jeff Frazier, singles by Brown, Adam Fox and Chris McConnell and doubles by Tug Hulett and Jesus Valdez. Meyers' quality start was preserved by scoreless relief from Collin Balester, Josh Wilkie and Ryan Mattheus