Josh Butler battled through six innings and Jonathan Lucroy hit the tie-breaking home run to push Huntsville past Montgomery 6-4 Monday night in the middle of a five-game set at Joe Davis Stadium. The Stars stopped a three-game slide to raise their second half mark to 22-35, while the Biscuits fell to
27-30 in the second half and 60-67 overall. The Stars snapped a six-game skid to Montgomery and beat the Biscuits for only a second time in eight tries.
The visitors scored in the first inning on a run-producing hit by Jose Lobaton and a throwing error on shortstop Yohannis Perez in an attempt to turn an inning-ending double play. Butler struck out Fernando Cortez with two runners on to end the second inning, got Matt Fields to bounce into an inning-ending double play with two runners on in the third and induced Jason Perry to ground into a twin-killing in the sixth to navigate his way through that frame.
Butler was charged with one earned run on seven hits, while fanning three and walking three. He picked up the win to improve to 2-1 and was followed by Mike McClendon, who tossed a perfect seventh inning and Zach Braddock, who worked a scoreless eighth inning. Rob Wooten retired the first two hitters in the ninth before a walk and a hit and defensive indifference put runners at second and third. Cortez singled in Jason Bowers and Rashad Eldridge to cut the Stars lead to 6-4 before Chris Nowak flied out to end the game.
Montgomery starter Rayner Oliveros retired the first seven hitters he faced before Perez hit an opposite field home run to right-center field to get the home team on the board. It was his third of the year and first since June 3. The Stars tied the game in the fourth on a two-out double by Taylor Green that plated Shane Justis, who had been hit by a pitch to start the inning.
Drew Anderson doubled with two out in the sixth and scored when Lucroy followed with his ninth long ball of the season to give the Stars a 4-2 edge. Oliveros suffered the loss after conceding four runs on five hits over six innings. Heath Rollins took over in the seventh and yielded a two-run home run to JR Hopf, his third of the season and first since July 5, that pushed the home side's lead to 6-2. The Stars hit three home runs in a game for a third time this season.The series continues Tuesday night with Stars' right-hander Brandon Kintzler making the start against Biscuits' southpaw Brandon Mann. Coverage of the game begins at 6:45 pm central time and can be heard through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com.