Pinch-hitter Russ Canzler stepped up in a big way with a bases-loaded double in the fourth inning that propelled the Tennessee Smokies to a 5-2 victory over the Huntsville Stars. The Smokies now have a two games to one lead in the best-of-five playoff series.
Starter Andrew Cashner faced off against the Huntsville starter, former Smokie Mark Holliman. For three innings, the two pitchers held the batters scoreless. In the fourth inning, Cashner gave up a two-run double with one out and the Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
But the Smokies answered in the bottom of the inning. After Holliman retired the first two batters easily, third baseman Marquez Smith doubled and catcher Welington Castillo walked. An infield single by Jonathan Mota loaded the bases for Cashner, who manager Ryne Sandberg removed for Canzler, who cleared the bases with a double.
Cashner finished the night having pitched four innings and he allowed two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out one and got the Stars to ground into two double plays.
The Smokies bullpen shut the Stars down the rest of the way. Alex Maestri allowed three hits but no runs over 1.2 innings. He walked one and struck out one. David Cales was awarded the win with 2.1 perfect innings, striking out two. Finally, Brian Schlitter pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save.
The Smokies tacked on insurance runs on a Tyler Colvin sac fly in the fifth inning and a James Adduci walk with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Adduci was 2 for 3 with two walks and a stolen base tonight. Mota was 2 for 3 with a walk.
The Smokies will try to end the series tomorrow afternoon when Hung-Wen Chen takes the mound.