The Birmingham Barons relinquished first place in the Southern League North Division to the Tennessee Smokies Sunday afternoon after a 9-1 loss in front of 3,592 fans at Regions Field.
Dan Black gave the Barons an early 1-0 lead in the first, grounding into a double-play that allowed Jared Mitchell to score from third base.
The lead would be short lived as the Smokies scored five runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-1 lead. Starter Chris Beck (4-7, 3.59) surrendered seven-straight singles in the inning and was removed after allowing five runs on 10 total hits over just 3.2 IP.
The lead grew to 7-1 after six innings following an RBI ground-rule double by Dustin Geiger and a solo home run by Jorge Soler who was activated from the disabled list prior to the game. Both runs came against reliever Bryan Blough who surrendered four hits over 4.1 innings in relief of Beck.
Smokies starter Corey Black (4-5, 2.72) baffled the Barons offense for much of the afternoon, allowing just three hits and a run while striking out six over 6.0 IP.
INF Chris Curley finished with two of the Barons' six hits going 2-for-4 with two singles. Meanwhile, Rangel Ravelo extended his hitting streak to 23 games with a first inning infield single. The hitting streak is the longest in the Southern League in 2014 and is tied for the 2nd-longest streak in Minor League Baseball this season.
The loss snapped the Barons season-high five games winning streak as they fell to 10-7 in the second half, while the Smokies improved to 11-7. The Barons will look to secure a series victory tomorrow night as RHP Myles Jaye (0-7, 6.93) takes the hill against RHP Pierce Johnson (2-1, 3.44). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM CDT.