(HUNTSVILLE) - Brae Wright got the Tennessee Smokies to hit into four double plays and induced 16 ground outs, but runs win games, and the Smokies put up a pair in the 4th inning to give them all they needed in a 3-1 win at Joe Davis Stadium, Wednesday night.
Esmailin Caridad worked seven scoreless innings and held off threats in the 3rd and 4th innings to push Tennessee's lead in the Northern Division to three games over the Stars.
The Smokies improve to 17-9, while the Stars, in losing their second straight game, fall to 14-12.
Lorenzo Cain, buried in the 8-hole in the lineup, smashed two long doubles, one of which nearly carried over the fence in left field in the 8th inning, and drew a walk to lead the Stars offense.
His first double in the 3rd, which took a bounce off the fence in left-center, came with one out, but Wright and leadoff hitter Freddy Parejo grounded out to strand him in scoring position.
Caridad, like Wright, forced a lot of ground ball outs, getting seven in the first three innings. Forcing the Stars to swing early (he went to a full count just twice in 7 innings), he struck out just two.
The Smokies did not hit for the kind of power the Stars found, but they hit the ball often enough in the 4th inning to give them a 2-0 lead. Matt Camp led off with a single up the middle on a 2-2 pitch, moved to second on a Nate Spears sac bunt, and scored the first run on Tyler Colvin's single to center.
Colvin, who advanced to second on the throw to the plate, scored when Jake Fox also followed with a single to center.
The lead held as the Stars squandered scoring opportunities in the 4th and 5th innings. With two out in the 4th, Angel Salome singled to right and went to third on Cole Gillespie's double deep to right, but J.R. Hopf left them in scoring position with a fly out to right-center. In the 5th, Cain walked and was sacrificed to second, but Freddy Parejo popped out to end the inning.
With closer Jose Ceda now on the mound for Tennessee, the Stars finally got on the scoreboard in the 8th, and threatened to add more after Lorenzo Cain led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Alcides Escobar, who has now strung together 7 straight games with two hits or more. Mat Gamel, hitless in his first three at-bats, singled on a couple of hops to right on a 2-0 pitch, sending Escobar to third, but Salome flied out to right-center on a 1-2 pitch.
Ceda retired the side in the 9th on 11 pitches to end the game and pick up his 6th save.
Wright (6-8) took the hard-luck loss after throwing 103 pitches in eight innings, striking out seven. Jason Shiell pitched the 9th, allowing a double to Jason Fox, who stole third and scored when a routine ground ball to first went through the legs of Hopf.
Caridad (4-1) gave up just 4 hits in 7 innings and won for the 4th time in his last 5 starts.
Thursday, Stars left-hander Troy Cate (2-0) will be opposed by Smokies' southpaw James Russell (4-4, 4.75).