Stars Fall From First with 6-5 Loss to Birmingham

(HUNTSVILLE) - Carlos Torres turned in seven quality innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, and striking out 7, as the Birmingham Barons finished their series at Joe Davis Stadium, Sunday, winning 4 of 5 with a 6-5 win over the Stars.

The win opened up a 5½ game lead for Birmingham (29-21) over Montgomery, while Huntsville (31-19) drops out of the Northern Division lead with a 5-4 West Tenn win over Chattanooga.

Mike Jones, with a 65-pitch limit, lasted through four innings, his longest start this season, split with Brevard County. He gave up five hits and walked four.

Jones struggled in his final inning, as the Barons unlocked a 1-1 tie with a big 3-run rally from which the Stars couldn't recover. Cole Armstrong delivered a bases-loaded double with nobody out, knocking in two runs, and later uncorked a wild pitch that scored Armstrong.

The Stars came back with single runs in the 4th and 5th, but for every run they scored, the Barons returned the favor in the top of the inning.

Right fielder David Cook greeted Donovan Hand with a home run on his 2nd pitch in his Double-A debut in the 5th and gave up an RBI double to Victor Mercedes, scoring Armstrong in the 6th.

Hand, a graduate of Hatton High School in Town Creek, was called up from Class A-Brevard County (Fla.St.), Friday, where he had the 7th-best ERA in the league.

Chris Errecart hit a 2-run homer in the 8th off reliever Derek Rodriguez, his 8th of the year and 6th this month, closing the Stars' gap to one run, but the Barons held on after Cole Gillespie led off the 9th with a single against closer Jon Link and advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice. Guilder Rodriguez struck out and Michael Brantley flied out to end the game.

Link locked down the win with his 13th save for Torres (5-2).

Huntsville stranded nine runners and 41 in the series and 95 in the ten games.

Matt LaPorta hit his league-leading 12th home run of the year in the 4th, just the second allowed all year by Torres in 53 1/3 innings, which trimmed the lead to 4-2.

The Stars start a 10-game road trip today, starting in Mobile, with lefty Steve Hammond (5-1, 2.97) taking the hill against Bay Bears right-hander Adam Howard (4-2, 3.70).