HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- The Tennessee Smokies (53-47, 19-12) used three home runs Wednesday night to defeat the Huntsville Stars (43-56, 14-17) 6-1 at Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium, ending a three-game skid. The Smokies jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with solo shots by Justin Bour, Rafael Lopez and Javier Baez and used a solid outing from Dae- Eun Rhee to maintain their North Division lead.
Bour led off the second inning with a bang by hitting a bomb to right field for his eleventh home run of the season that gave Tennessee a 1-0 edge. Rafael Lopez came up three batters later and hit a blast over the right field fence for a 2-0 Smokies lead. Lopez’s bomb was the catcher’s third home run this month and seventh on the season.
Huntsville Stars starter Andy Moye continued to struggle with the long ball in the in the visiting half of the fourth inning when Smokies’ shortstop Javier Baez hit a solo jack to left field for a 3-0 lead and the third home run off Moye in the game. The round tripper marked Baez’s sixth home run with Tennessee since being promoted to Double-A on July 6.
Rhee (3-0, 1.89) was strong in his second outing since returning from the disabled list on July 18, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. After allowing a leadoff single and walk to the first two batters faced, Jason Rogers knocked a RBI-single to left field, bringing in Nick Shaw and cutting the Tennessee lead to 3-1.
Reliever Hunter Cervenka came on for Rhee after the Stars’ first run, producing a 4-6-3 double play and force out to end the inning and preserve the Tennessee lead. Rhee finished the evening allowing just one earned run in five innings while walking three batters and striking out six.
Smokies left-fielder John Andreoli led off the top of the eighth inning with a double to left field, his eighth with Tennessee. Third baseman Jonathan Mota singled two batters later to bring in Andreoli and give the Smokies a 4-1 lead. Mota scored on a wild pitch by David Goforth three batters later to extend the Tennessee edge to 5-1.
Javier Baez smashed a double to left field in the top of the ninth inning for his 22nd double on the year. After advancing to third on a Bour groundout, Rubi Silva brought the shortstop home on a sacrifice fly to push the Smokies’ lead to 6-1.
Austin Kirk (2-3, 6.53) gets the call for Tennessee on Thursday while Huntsville has yet to name a starting pitcher. First pitch from ‘The Joe’ is set for 7:43 p.m. EST.
AUDIO RECAP SMOKIES 6 Stars 1
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