Down on the Farm Report

Call it a modest beginning but Monday night Zach Hammes looked like the pitcher the Dodgers felt they were getting when they chose him in the 2002 amateur draft. That year Hammes was a second -rounder for L.A., taken between selections of Greg Miller and Jonathan Broxton. Miller shot up the charts last summer, Broxton seems to be doing the same this year but Hammes hasn't kept up the pace. He certainly possesses the arm strength but those dreaded mechanical problems have kept him behind.

Last night, though, he was in command as Columbus measured Lakewood 5-2. It was the fourth in a row for the Catfish, now 10-7, as Hammes, a 6-6, 225-pound righthander from Iowa checked the Indians affiliate on five hits while striking out five to even his season's mark at 1-1. Jumbo Diaz finished for his fourth save while Tony Abreau, Xavier Paul, Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche ignited the offense and Chin-Lung Hu provided some dazzling glove work at short.

Abreau had three hits, Paul extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two, Kemp tripled and singled, LaRoche doubled and singled and Mike Nixon slammed his first home run.

In other action Jacksonville bounced back to defeat Carolina (Marlins) 6-2 for its ninth home victory in 18 games but both Las Vegas and Vero Beach wasted some lusty hitting as Vegas lost to Sacramento (A's) 9-8 in 10 innings and Vero fell to the St. Lucie Mets 11-7.

Glenn Bott threw six innings of shutout ball for first-place Jacksonville (14-4) to leave the game leading 1-0 but Carolina picked up a run off reliever Elvin Nina to deprive Bott of a victory. Then the Suns came shining through with five runs in the next two innings so Nina wound up winning his third decision with Yhency Brazoban notching his third save despite giving up a run.

Catcher Edwin Bellorin with a double and two singles led the attack.

At Las Vegas, Rick Bell enjoyed a huge evening with his first homer, two doubles and single, Antonio Perez added a double and three singles and Nick Theodorou contributed a double and two more base hits but all that proved to be not enough in the end.

Starter Tanyon Sturtze faltered for the first time this season being banged around for five runs, Troy Brohawn was clipped for three more and Augustin Montero (0-2) surrendered the winner in the 10th. The 51's are 8-11.

It was more of the same at Vero Beach where the Dodgers were able to assault lefty Scott Kazmir, one of the Mets' more vaunted prospects, for an early 4-1 lead only to have starter Brad Baisley collapse and two relievers falter. Newly acquired Trey Dyson made an auspicious debut with three hits, Russell Mitchell had the same number and both Russell Martin and Brett Dowdy homered. Martin's was his fourth, tops in the organization, while it was the first pro dinger for Dowdy.

Mauricio Tequida (0-2) took the loss for Vero now 7-12.