Stars Head to Carolina a Game Back

(HUNTSVILLE) - Sam Fuld and Brent Lalli each powered 2-run homers in the 4th inning off Mike Jones while starter Mark Holliman threw five scoreless innings en route to a 7-3 win over the Huntsville Stars at Joe Davis Stadium, Sunday.

The Stars (17-13), now a game in back of Tennessee, head to Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina for a five-game series with the Carolina Mudcats. Left-hander Brae Wright (6-8, 3.38) will face Gaby Hernandez, Tuesday. Hernandez had spent most of the season at Class AAA-Albuquerque and was 2-8 with a 7.24 ERA when he was sent down to Carolina earlier this month. Wright is looking for his first win since June 26.

Jones (0-4, 7.58) held the Stars scoreless until Holliman led off the 3rd inning with a single to right. Fuld followed with a home run to right that cleared all three fences. After a pair of ground outs, Jake Fox singled to left and Lalli followed with a home run in nearly the same location that bounced off the middle fence.

Jones, who was on a 65-pitch count, was gone after three innings, trailing 4-0. He gave up five hits, struck out two and walked two.

The Stars were held to three hits by Holliman (1-3, 4.91), who pitched a 7-inning no-hitter against the Stars last year and won the first game of the Northern Division Playoffs. Matt Avery gave up a 6th inning run after Lorenzo Cain led off with a triple to left, and Rocky Roquet followed, but Roquet ran into trouble as the Stars tried to take advantage of his wildness with an 8th inning rally.

Freddy Parejo singled and Cain and Alcides Escobar walked to fill the bases, bringing up SL-leading hitter Mat Gamel with nobody out. The Smokies' new reliever Jose Ceda, however, threw Parejo out at the plate on Gamel's comebacker and  the Stars managed to score a pair of runs only after Ceda walked Cole Gillespie and J.R. Hopf to make it 6-3.

The Smokies tacked on another run in the 9th on Jake Fox's leadoff home run to centerfield off Jason Shiell.

Omar Aguilar tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Jones and was followed by David Johnson, who gave up a two-out, RBI-double to Nate Spears in the 6th that ended his 16 2/3 scoreless innings streak.

Gamel finished 0-for-3 and has gone hitless in his last 11 at-bats over three straight games for the first time since April 12-14.