The Birmingham Barons defeated the Jacksonville Suns 7-3 Sunday afternoon, clinching the Southern League North Division First Half Championship in front of 4,276 fans at Regions Field.
Tyler Saladino put the Barons up 2-0 in the 2nd with a double into the left field corner. Cody Puckett followed later in the inning with another double into the corner, scoring Saladino. He would score from second on an RBI single by Keenyn Walker and Thompson would deliver Walker with another single to cap a five-run inning.
In the fourth, Cody Puckett launched a solo home run into the Suns bullpen to give the Barons a 6-1 lead. The homer was Puckett's fifth of the season and third against the Suns.
Starter Spencer Arroyo (5-4, 3.24) escaped a bases loaded jam in the fifth, striking out Kyle Jensen looking to end the frame. For the game he allowed two runs on three hits over 5.0 IP while striking out five.
Mike Blanke capped the scoring with a solo homer of his own to lead off the 6th, giving the Barons a 7-2 lead. The homer was his fifth of the season.
Daniel Webb recorded the final six outs of the game as the Barons clinched their 10th playoff appearance in the last 14 seasons since 2000 and improved to 40-24 on the season.
The Barons will look for a series victory tomorrow night as RHP Erik Johnson (6-2, 2.53) takes the hill against RHP Robert Morey (2-2, 3.50). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM CDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.