For a second night against the Biloxi Shuckers, the Blue Wahoos had their bats quieted and for the first time this season, they are no longer in first place.
Shuckers starter Johan Belisario (6-0) worked five solid innings, then three relievers combined to allow just one hit, as Biloxi overtook the Blue Wahoos atop the Southern League South Division with a 5-2 victory Saturday night at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss.
A crowd of 3,585 watched the Shuckers take a fifth-inning lead on a pair of walks, then produce a three-run eighth to pull away for the win.
After 62 games, the Blue Wahoos (36-26) will now play the role of chaser, trailing Biloxi (37-25) by one game, heading into the three remaining games of this pivotal series in the first half divisional race.
Jorge Alcala (5-2) is set to take the mound Sunday for the Blue Wahoos in a 2:35 p.m. game to try and get the divisional chase tied again. The teams will play again Monday and Tuesday. Each team has eight games left in the first half schedule.
The Blue Wahoos took an early lead Saturday when Jaylin Davis led off the fourth inning with a solo homer, his ninth of the season. Michael Davis and Brian Navarreto then followed with two out singles, but Belisario got Taylor Grzelakowski to ground out, ending the inning.
It became the third time in four innings the Blue Wahoos left a runner in scoring position.
Blue Wahoos starter Charlie Barnes (0-1), who absorbed his first loss since joining the team, was in a good flow through four innings until he struggled with control in the fifth inning. After giving up a leadoff double, then a walk, he was unable to throw out Luis Aviles Jr. on a bunt single which loaded the bases.
Blue Wahoos manager Ramon Borrego went to the bullpen, bringing in Tom Hackimer, who walked the next two batters to give Biloxi a 2-1 lead with none out. But Hackimer then pitched out of the jam with a strikeout and double play ball to end the inning.
The offense wasn't able to respond, going scoreless the next three innings. The Blue Wahoos best chance for a rally was in the top of the eighth when Ben Rortvedt and Davis reached on one-out walks. The Shuckers summoned reliever Luke Barker, who struck out Ryan Costello and Caleb Hamilton to end the inning en route to earning his eighth save.
In the bottom of eighth, Bilox touched up reliever Jeff Ames with three consecutive hits to start the inning. The third one, a double by Dillon Thomas, scored a run. Sam Clay replaced Ames and issued an intentional walk to C.J. Hinojosa. The Shuckers' Max McDowell then smacked a two-run double to give the Shuckers a 5-1 lead.
With two outs in the ninth, Travis Blankenhorn hit an RBI double to score Grezelakowski, who had walked, for the Blue Wahoos second run.
After scoring 34 runs and winning four of five games against Jacksonville, the Blue Wahoos have scored just three runs against Biloxi and been unable to deliver a big two-out hit.
The season series between the teams, part of the Seafood Buffet Series, is now tied at 6-6. The Blue Wahoos will need to win two of the three remaining games to keep a tie-breaker edge should the teams end the first half tied in the standings.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.