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Three Huntsville Hurlers Cool Off Red-Hot Smokies09/10/2009 10:58 PM ET
By Brett Pollock / Huntsville Stars
Steffan Wilson's three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning carried Huntsville to a dramatic 4-2 come-from-behind win over Tennessee Thursday night in the opener of the best-of-five North Division Playoffs at Joe Davis Stadium. The Stars, who had lost their last nine regular season games, moved out to a 1-0 series lead with game two set for Friday night in Huntsville.
Drew Anderson led off the decisive frame with a single, stayed put after the next two hitters were retired and advanced to second base when Lorenzo Cain was hit by a pitch. Marcos Mateo fell behind Wilson 2-0 before the Huntsville first baseman made his double-A debut a successful one by crushing a home run to left-center field to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Wilson had been promoted Wednesday night after high class-A Brevard County was eliminated from the Florida State League playoffs.
Casey Baron retired the first Smokies' hitter in the ninth inning and gave way to the right-hander Rob Wooten, who got two fly ball outs to end the game and sew up the win. Wooten recorded 11 saves in 12 chances in the regular season. Mateo took the loss after leaving two runners on to end the seventh inning.
The Stars broke up a scoreless game in the fourth inning when Taylor Green doubled with two outs and scored on a base hit by Cain. Tyler Colvin's lead off long ball in the fifth inning, just the third allowed by Stars' starter Josh Butler in 45 innings, evened the score at one. Starlin Castro followed with a single, moved to second base when Ty Wright was hit by a pitch and advanced, with Wright, on a sacrifice bunt by Robinson Chirinos, his first with Tennessee. Smokies' skipper Ryne Sandberg then elected to lift his starter Jeremy Papelbon and replace him with pinch-hitter Russ Canzler, who struck out on for the second out of the inning. Jonathan Mota followed with an infield hit to drive in Castro with the go-ahead run. Butler tossed seven innings, allowing six hits, walking two, hitting two and striking out five
Papelbon yielded three hits, walked one and fanned four in his four frames and was followed to the hill by David Cales, who threw two scoreless innings. Anderson led off the home sixth with a double but never advanced after two strikeouts and a ground out.
The series continues Friday night with right-hander Nick Green taking the hill against Smokies' right-hander Casey Coleman. Coverage of the game begins at 6:45 pm central time and can be heard through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.