Barons Rally From Two Games Down To Overtake Smokies

Mobile Vs. Montgomery In The Southern League Championship Finals

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Mobile's Archie Bradley is the top pitching prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Mobile's Archie Bradley is the top pitching prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

Birmingham defeated Tennessee, 7-4, in a decisive Game 5 at Smokies Park to advance to the circuit's Championship Series against Mobile. That will be the franchise's first trip to the Southern League Finals since 2002, when the team swept Jacksonville in three games to claim its fifth league title.

59375px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">The victory came after the Barons nearly squandered a 2-0 series lead by dropping Games 3 and 4.

The Barons got some big help in the form of some Smokies miscues to break the affair open.

With the score knotted entering the fourth, 2-2, Tyler Saladino singled off Tennessee starter Neil Ramirez and Mike Blanke and Jared Mitchell walked to load the bases with one out. After Ramirez was lifted for reliever Matt Loosen, Barons leadoff hitter Micah Johnson hit a sharp ball to second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, whose error allowed Saladino and Blanke to score. The ball reached home, but was thrown away by catcher Taylor Davis, plating Mitchell to give the Barons a 5-2 lead and leaving Johnson at second.

Then the Barons second baseman topped off the inning by scoring on Javier Baez's error at shortstop on a ball off the bat of Trayce Thompson.

Birmingham received a strong relief outing by Ryan Kussmaul. Starter Myles Jaye and Nestor Molina allowed two runs apiece over the first 4 2/3 innings before the 26-year-old right-hander took over in the fifth with a 6-4 lead. He gave up a single to Rubi Silva to begin his outing before retiring nine Smokies in a row.

Cody Winiarski earned his second save of the postseason with 1 1/3 scoreless frames. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out Baez for the game's final out. The Cubs' top prospect had smoked a mammoth homer in the fifth and also scored after being hit by a pitch in the first.

Birmingham moves onto the Southern League Finals to face a Mobile team that defeated Mississippi, 3-1, in the league's other semifinals. The BayBears won the first- and second-half titles in the South Division, but split their 10 games with the Barons this season. Mobile is managed by Andy Green who, in his first year at the helm, was selected as the SL Manager of the Year.

Game One is Thursday night at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile.

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