Stars Use Pair of Four-Run Innings to Beat Tennessee, 9-3

(HUNTSVILLE) - The Huntsville Stars put across a pair of four-spots in the 4th and 5th innings to erese an early 2-0 deficit on the way to a 9-3 win over the Tennessee Smokies, Thursday night at Joe Davis Staduim.

Troy Cate worked 7 solid innings to get his 3rd win in four starts without a loss, giving up 7 hits and striiking out 2. The two runs charged to him were unearned.

A 2-run double by Wellington Castillo in the top of the 4th broke a scoreless contest, but the Stars answered back quickly off starter Grant Johnson (1-2). Leadoff man Alcides Escobar was hit with a pitch, advanced to second on an infield single by Mat Gamel and moved to third base when Angel Salome walked to fill the bases. Cole Gillespie hit what looked like it was going to be a sacrifice fly to center field until Tyler Colvin lost it in the changing night sky and overran the ball, allowing it to drop for a two-run single to tie the game. Salome and Gillespie advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Bell and scored on a two-out single by Michael Garciaparra.

The Stars' 4-run 5th started out just like the 4th with a hit batter -- this time Lorenzo Cain. Escobar's single moved him over and Mat Gamel loaded the bases on another infield single. Angel Salome then singled to left to score two runs to make it 6-2. Salome went to second on the advance throw, then moved to third on a throwing error by 3rd baseman Josh Lansford, which allowed Gamel to score.

Mark Holliman entered the game for the Smokies and allowed Salome to score on a wild pitch, giving the Stars an 8-2 lead.

David Johnson worked a scoreless 8th inning to extend his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 15 1/3 since coming off the disabled list. Juan Sandoval retired the side in order in the 9th with three ground ball outs to finish the game.

Friday night, David Welch (8-1) will try for the 6th time to win his 9th game as he faces Smokies' southpaw James Russell (4-4, 4.75). The Stars have won 8 of their 11 meetings with Tennessee, who lead the Stars in the Northern Division by two games.