The Blue Wahoos missed several chances early in Saturday's game against Birmingham to build a lead.
It cost them in the end.
For the second time in three games, the Birmingham Barons celebrated a walkoff win, after Joel Booker hit a two-out, RBI single in the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory against the Blue Wahoos and a third straight win in this weekend series at Regions Field in Birmingham.
The Barons (12-5 second half) continued their hot start in the second half, winning for the 10th time in the past 11 games as Southern League North Division leaders.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning, the Blue Wahoos (9-8 second half) tied the game on Brian Schales' two-run homer. They had a chance to get another run when Lewin Diaz walked and
Brian Navarreto had a two-out single, but reliever Alec Hansen struck out Mark Contreras to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth against Birmingham's third reliever, Danny Dopico, a repeat scenario occurred. With two out, Travis Blankenhorn, who had a big night going 3-for-3, walked and Alex Kirilloff singled, but Dopico struck out Schales to end the threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, Alfredo Gonzalez led off with a single against reliever Sam Clay. Ramon Torres moved the runner over on a sacrifice bunt. Clay threw a wild pitch to send Gonzalez to third. After Clay struck out Luis Gonzalez for the second out, Blue Wahoos manager summoned Anthony Vizcaya to pitch to Booker.
On a 1-2 pitch, Booker delivered the game-winner.
The game started with Blue Wahoos leadoff batter Travis Blankenhorn smashing his 16th homer over the right field wall. From that point, the Blue Wahoos had runners on base in four of
the first six innings, but could not get another run.
They were 1-for-8 in the game with runners in scoring position.
Blue Wahoos starter Randy Dobnak pitched out of trouble in the first three innings, allowing just one run. He then retired the next nine Birmingham batters in order through the sixth inning.
But in the seventh, Dobnak gave up a lead off double against Damek Tomscha. With one out, Alfredo Gonzalez reached on a fielder's choice when Tomscha beat a throw home from shortstop Jordan Gore.
Torres followed with a double against Dobnak to put runners on second and third. Clay entered the game and got Luis Gonzalez to hit a grounder to the mound and he threw out Alfredo Gonzalez at the plate.
But with two out, a wild pitch scored Torres. Clay hit Booker with a pitch to put runners on first and second. Blake Rutherford then doubled to score the third run and give Birmingham its 4-2 lead.
The Blue Wahoos were outhit 10-8 in the game. Blankenhorn had a big game, going 3-for-3, scoring two runs, driving in a run and twice reaching base on walks. Kirilloff went 2-for-5.
The teams will continue their six-game series on Sunday with a 4 p.m. game. Charlie Barnes is scheduled to start the game for the Blue Wahoos.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.