(BIRMINGHAM) - Brae Wright served up three home runs in seven innings of work as the Huntsville Stars lost 8-2 to the Birmingham Barons, Wednesday night at Regions Park in Birmingham.
Winning pitcher Justin Cassel (10-4) tossed six innings, allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits and striking out 5.
The Stars fall to 27-31, 9½ games behind 1st place Carolina. The Mudcats come into Joe Davis Stadium for a five-game series on Saturday.
The Barons, first-half champs, improve to 29-28, 5 games in back of the 1st place Mississippi Braves.
The Barons never lost their lead after scoring twice in the 1st when Javier Castillo's line drive to right field was lost in the lights by Cole Gillespie. It fell in for a triple that scored C.J. Lang. Lee Cruz then followed with a single into center off the left leg of Wright.
The Stars came back with a run in the top of the 2nd on a fielder's choice grounder to make it 2-1, but that's as close as the Stars would ever come in the game. The Barons made it 3-1 in the bottom half on a home run by Jared Price and stretched it to a 4-2 lead in the 4th on a solo shot by Brandon Allen.
Angel Salome doubled in the 2nd inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games. He moved to third on Mat Gamel's grounder and scored on another ground ball by Cole Gillespie.
The Stars also scored in the top half of the 3rd when Lorenzo Cain's ground ball with the bases loaded scored Mike Bell.
Michael Brantley and Martin Maldonado led the Stars' hit attack with two apiece.
Wright was charged with 8 runs (7 earned) on 10 hits while striking out two. He remains winless since June 26.
Thursday night, left-hander David Welch makes a bid for his 12th win against Barons' right-hander Dewon Day (0-6, 7.17). Welch is the leading lefty in the Southern League with an 11-2 record and 3.49 ERA.