Birmingham has won nine of their last 11 meetings with Tennessee
Joel Booker's throw in the sixth inning proved to be a pivotal moment in Tuesday's win. (Jon Cheris)
By Jeff Spradlin / Birmingham Barons | August 14, 2018 11:07 PM
In a low-scoring battle between two strong pitching staffs, the Birmingham Barons (57-62) earned their eighth shutout victory of the season with a 2-0 win over the Tennessee Smokies (59-60) on Wednesday night at Regions Field. The Barons remain 5.5 games out of first place in the North Division playoff race.
Turning Point: With a 1-0 lead, Tanner Banks (W, 3-4) ran into trouble in the sixth inning. After loading the bases with no outs, he was replaced by relief pitcher Zach Thompson. Thompson was very effective as he was able to pitch out of trouble without a blemish. After striking out Yasiel Balaguert, he forced P.J. Higgins to hit a fly ball to left field. After making the catch in left, Joel Booker made a perfect throw to home plate to get the third out and stop Zack Short from scoring the tying run.
He Said It: "I just wanted to get behind it and make a good throw," Booker said. "I got rid of it as quick as I could. It took a couple of hops home, but I was able to get the runner."
Facts And Figures: Banks earned his third win of the season with 5.0 scoreless innings and two strikeouts. He was relieved by Thompson, who was absolutely brilliant, throwing 2.0 innings without allowing a hit and pitching out of a bases-loaded nobody out jam in the sixth. Colton Turner threw a scoreless eighth while Jose Ruiz earned his 12th save of the season with a clean ninth inning.
Moments That Mattered: The Barons scattered runners throughout the game but the damage was done via the long ball. Keon Barnum struck first with a 396-foot blast to right field in the third inning, his 15th homer of the season. In the sixth inning, Luis Basabe joined the fun with a nearly identical solo shot, his fifth with the Barons, to double the lead to 2-0, capping the scoring on the night.
By The Numbers: The Barons were held to just five hits in the win. Barnum finished 2-for-3 with a homer while Basabe went 1-for-4 with a homer of his own. Booker also finished 1-for-4 with his second Double-A triple. For Tennessee, Balaguert led the way with a pair of hits while four others added a hit in the loss.
Up Next: Birmingham and Tennessee will face off in game two of the five-game series at Regions Field on Wednesday night at 7:05 PM. For the Barons, Matt Tomshaw (4-6, 6.14) will take the mound against Thomas Hatch (6-5, 3.93) for the Smokies. Curt Bloom will have the call on 960 WERC News Radio and the iHeart Radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.