(KODAK, Tenn.) - Mat Gamel scored in the 13th inning on a throwing error, Tuesday night, as the Huntsville Stars won their 17th game in their last 20, outlasting the Tennessee Smokies, 3-2 at Smokies Park.
The Stars also won their 230th game for Don Money, tying him with Brad Fischer, the Stars' very first manager, as the winningest manager in club history.
In winning their season-best 5th straight, the Stars (28-11) push their lead over West Tennessee by five games in the Northern division. The cellar-dwelling Smokies fall to 15-24. It's their 11th loss at home in their last 13 games.
Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta connected with one-out singles in the 13th inning against the Smokies' new pitcher, Matt Avery. Next, Cole Gillespie bounced a ground ball to shortstop that was gloved by a diving Joe Simokaitis. Simokaitis shoveled the ball to 2nd baseman Nate Spears for the out at second base but Spears' throw to first sailed past Doug Deeds, allowing Gamel to cross the plate with the decisive run.
Juan Sandoval worked around a two-out walk to Tyler Colvin to nail down his 4th save -- his 2nd straight. Joe Bateman took credit for the win in relief with three scoreless innings. Bateman has now thrown 10 scoreless innings over his last 5 outings.
The Smokies jumped out to a lead for the 2nd straight night when Simokaitis doubled home Ryan Harvey with two outs in the 2nd inning. The Stars got on board to tie it in the 4th when Gamel crushed a hanging curve ball for his 9th home run of the year, and 4th in the last six games, to get the game tied. Gamel, the league's leading hitter at .367, is now 2nd to his teammate Matt LaPorta in home runs and RBIs.
Chris Errecart's 6th home run of the season gave the Stars their first lead in the 5th inning, 2-1, his 3rd in as many games, but the Smokes tied it back up off starter Brae Wright in the bottom half on a base hit by Kyle Reynolds that scored Simokaitis.
Wright went 6 innings, giving up a pair of runs on 4 hits, while walking 3 and fanning a season-high 7. Robert Hinton followed with 3 scoreless, allowing one hit.
Sam Narron taking the mound against Smokies' right-hander Mitch Atkins as this 5-game series wraps up tonight before the Stars come home, Thursday, to face the Carolina Mudcats.