(HUNTSVILLE) - The Mississippi Braves launched three home runs off 10-game winner David Welch, the last being Greg Creek's 2-run pinch-hit home run to break a 2-2 tie in the 7th inning as the Stars took a 4-2 loss at Joe Davis Stadium, Monday night.
The loss evens the series at two apiece as the Stars fall to 20-24 in the second half of the season. The Braves increase their lead to 3½ games over Montgomery in the Southern Division.
Alexandre Periard (0-2, 9.72) will start the final game of the series for the Stars against Mississippi right-hander Deunte Heath (3-4, 4.34).
Creek cleared all three walls in right field on a 2-0 pitch from Welch after former Stars catcher J.C. Boscan singled with 2 out in the 7th, his first hit of the series.
J.C. Holt and Matt Young followed with base hits to chase Welch from the game. Welch allowed 8 hits, struck out 8 and walked one in taking his first loss since April 21, which was also against the Braves.
Jason Shiell got Reid Gorecki to fly out to finish out the 7th. Ben Howard closed the game for the Stars with two scoreless innings.
The Stars put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out in the 9th after Luis Valdez walked leadoff man Lorenzo Cain, then gave up a base hit to Mike Bell. Martin Maldonado moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt, but pinch-hitter Guilder Rodriguez struck out looking and Michael Brantley was retired on a running catch in centerfield by Quentin Davis to end the game, earning Valdez his 23rd save of the season.
Holt led off the game with a home run, his 3rd of the season and 2nd of the series to give the Braves a 1-0 lead before the Stars struck back in the bottom half of the 1st with a 2-run homer off starter Tommy Hanson.
Brandon Hicks' first Double-A home run tied the game in the 2nd inning.
Hanson (7-3) worked 6 innings for the win, allowing 4 hits and walking one, while striking out 10. It was Hanson 10th win this season. He started the year at Class A-Myrtle Beach (Carolina).
Former Stars pitcher Jerome Gamble threw a scoreless 7th and has now blanked the Stars over 7 innings in his 5 outings this year.