(HUNTSVILLE) - Left-hander David Price, Tampa Bay's top pitching prospect, dazzled and confounded the Stars, allowing just 2 hits in his longest start of the season as the Montgomery Biscuits scored an easy 9-2 victory at Joe Davis Stadium, Monday night.
The Stars kept the Biscuits close thanks to a pair of home runs, but could get no one else on base.
Price, 9-0 in 13 starts professionally, struck out 7 in his 8 innings of work before Neal Frontz closed the game with a 9-2 lead.
After Mike Jones opened the 1st inning by walking leadoff hitter Rashad Eldridge on four pitches, Gaby Martinez gave Montgomery a 2-run lead three batters into the game with an opposite-field homer to left, the 9th gopher ball served up by Jones in 33 2/3 innings.
The Stars narrowed Montgomery's lead to 2-1 on a 1st inning, two-out blast to right-centerfield by Mat Gamel -- his 16th and his first since June 22. Price then mowed down 17 batters in a row before a 6th inning shot deep to left by catcher Martin Maldonado, his 2nd of the season, tied the game, 2-2.
Overmatched on paper, Mike Jones gave the Stars one of his finest outings, allowing just two hits in four innings -- Martinez's home run and a 2nd inning double by J.T. Hall -- and striking out six.
Jason Shiell entered the game in the 5th, then left in the 7th with a pair of runners on base for Steve Bray.
Bray, with a string of 10 consecutive scoreless innings, gave up a short-hop single to Martinez, scoring Josh Asanovich to give the Biscuits a 3-2 lead, and making a loser of Shiell (3-3).
The Biscuits opened the floodgates in the 9th off Bray, ending his streak at 11 2/3 innings.
Eldridge started the rally with a solo home run, followed by back-to-back singles from Ronnie Merrill and Martinez. Chris Nowak got on the board with an RBI double and then Rhyne Hughes provided his fourth 9th inning home run of the season. Hughes connected for a 3-run bomb and when the dust settled, the Biscuits had scored 6 runs on 8 hits in just an inning-and-a-third off Bray to put the game out of reach for the Stars.
Omar Aguilar came on in relief to strike out three of the final four batters of the inning.
The Biscuits (19-16) handed the Stars their 6th loss in their last 7 games. Montgomery won for the 5th time in their last 6.
The Stars drop to 18-18, 2½ games behind 1st place Carolina. They have been held to 3 runs or less in each of their last 7 games.
The Stars send left-hander Brae Wright and right-hander Donovan Hand in Tuesday's double-header, starting at 6:05, against Biscuits' right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and a starter to be named.