Stars Lose Again by a Run, But Lose No Ground

(MOBILE) - Cesar Nicolas drove in a pair of runs and Bryan Byrne doubled in a pair of runs in a 4-run 5th as the Mobile Bay Bears handed the Huntsville Stars another close defeat, 5-4, Monday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.

The Stars, batting .290 in their last 11 games, have lost 9 of them to drop to 31-20, but lost no ground in the North Division standings, as 1st place West Tenn fell to Mississippi, 2-1.

The Diamond Jaxx have a one-game lead over the Stars.

Eight of the Stars nine losses have been by one or two runs. The loss also ended the Stars' season-high win streak of six games on the road.

Angel Salome broke up a scoreless game with a home run in the 5th inning, his 4th of the season and his 1st on the road, to give starter Steve Hammond the lead.

Hammond almost followed Salome's long ball with one of his own, hooking a line drive just foul down the left field line before grounding out. However, in the bottom half, Mobile rallied for four runs with one out.

Orlando Mercado walked, advanced on a wild pitch with two outs, and scored to tie the game on a single by Chris Rahl, who was 2-for-18 against the Stars in their series at Joe Davis Stadium.

Yunesky Sanchez walked and both runners scored on a Byrne's double to right. Byrne then scored on Steve Nicolas's single to center to cap the rally.

The Stars closed the gap to one run in the 6th on a throwing error by 3rd baseman Cesar Nicolas that scored Mat Gamel, who doubled with one out, and Chris Errecart, whose infield single moved Gamel to third. That, however, is as close as they would get. The Bay Bears added another run in the 7th. Hammond suffered his first loss since April 9 after giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. Joe Bateman took over in the 7th and gave up a run in two innings.

Reid Mahon picked up his 11th save for Adam Howard (5-2).

The series continues Tuesday night with southpaw Derek Miller (4-1) getting the starting nod against BayBears' right-hander Brooks Brown (2-5, 3.86).