With a swift swing of the bat, Birmingham catcher Mike Blanke went from goat to hero Tuesday night at AT&T Field.
Blanke's two-out double to left field in the top of the ninth inning off Yimi Garcia scored Cody Puckett and Michael Earley to give the Barons a 4-3 victory over Chattanooga. In the sixth inning, a throwing error by Blanke enabled Joc Pederson to score from third to give the Lookouts a 3-2 advantage.
"They were making some good pitches tonight, hitting the corners and hitting their spots," Blanke said. "I was just waiting for a mistake, and luckily I got a hanging breaking ball there. I actually thought their left fielder was going to catch it, but it started top-spinning towards the line.
"There is a little bit of relief after the throw I made, but you're going to make mistakes in baseball. You just have to learn from them."
Chattanooga has yet to learn how to win two straight at home and is now 4-8, four games back of the Barons in their Southern League division.
The Barons jumped ahead in the first inning on Tyler Saladino's two-run home run to left. Chattanooga pulled within 2-1 in the fourth when Yasiel Puig doubled to right with two out and scored on J.T. Wise's single up the middle, and the Lookouts tied it in the fifth on Griff Erickson's homer to left.
The Lookouts got a defensive gem to close Birmingham's seventh when diving second baseman Rafael Ynoa flipped the ball back to shortstop Miguel Rojas, who threw to Chris Jacobs to compete the double play.
Andres Santiago (1-1, 0.82 ERA) is scheduled to start this morning's 11:15 game on the mound for the Lookouts, with Erik Johnson (1-0, 0.77) scheduled for the Barons.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...