LAWRENCEVILLE — Lucas Sims delivered 6 1/3 innings of one-run baseball as the Gwinnett Stripers beat the Syracuse Chiefs 7-1 at Coolray Field Sunday afternoon.
The Lawrenceville native retired the first 10 batters he faced before Irving Falu singled in the fourth, but he was quickly erased by a double play.
Gwinnett (26-34) tied a season-high with four double plays turned in the game. The offense kept pace with the strong defense as every Stripers batter reached base.
Danny Santana and Dustin Peterson started off the first inning with back-to-back singles. Right-hander Cesar Vargas threw an errant pickoff attempt into center field, allowing the runners to move into scoring position. Rio Ruiz then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, sending Santana home for the game’s first run.
In the second, Vargas loaded the bases as he walked Xavier Avery and Chris Stewart, then hit Tyler Smith with a pitch. Sims stepped up and drilled a single up the middle, giving himself and the Stripers a 2-0 lead. Santana grounded into a double play, but Stewart scored from third to make it 3-0. Peterson then reached on an error that scored Smith, and Ruiz made the Chiefs pay by planting an RBI triple into the right field corner for a 5-0 lead.
Santana lifted his eighth home run of the season – measured at 432 feet – in the fourth inning to make it a 6-0 game.
Vargas (L, 1-7) was touched up for six hits and six runs (three earned) over 5.0 innings for the Chiefs (28-32).
Syracuse’s lone run came in the sixth off Sims, who gave up a pair of one-out singles to Jacob Wilson and Matt Hague and issued a walk to Yadiel Hernandez. Sims was pulled after the walk in favor of David Peterson, who only surrendered a sacrifice fly to Chris Dominguez before getting out of further trouble.
Sims (W, 3-2) finished with 6.1 innings, four hits, one earned run and four walks allowed with six strikeouts. Peterson worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings allowing only one hit with two strikeouts to close the game.
The final Stripers run came in the eighth after Carlos Franco and Phil Gosselin singled to start the inning. They both moved up on a groundout, and Franco scored as Stewart grounded out to first.
For Gwinnett, Santana went 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored and an RBI, while Franco went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Ruiz had a game-high two RBIs, finishing 1-for-3 with a triple.
The Stripers hit the road to open a four-game series against the Norfolk Tides on Monday, beginning with a doubleheader at Harbor Park starting at 5:05 p.m. Gwinnett right-hander Wes Parsons (1-0, 3.93 ERA) will face Norfolk lefty John Means (1-1, 5.21 ERA) in the first game of the twin-bill. Neither team has announced a starter for the second tilt.