Down on the Farm Report

Minor league baseball fans know well what to expect. No matter how strong the starting pitcher has been, the time will come-usually after the fifth or sixth inning- when he'll run into the wall of his pitch count and it will be time for relief. Tuesday night, the starters for the four Dodger farm teams were quite efficient. After that -- well, the results were decidedly mixed. Still, three of the four survived with victories.

It was Joel Hanrahan's turn at Las Vegas where, though a bit wild with five walks in six innings, he was strong throughout, getting his fast ball into the low 90's to hold Sacramento (A's) to three runs, only one earned, over that stretch. But Rodney Myers was hammered for five in three innings so the 51's were forced into overtime with an 8-8 tie.

All ended well, however, as Doug Nickle came on for a scoreless 10th whereupon Joey Thurston tripled in the bottom of the inning and trotted in with the winner when Antonio Perez singled. Koyie Hill led 51's hitters with his second home run plus a single while Perez, Jose Flores, Nick Theodorou, and Shane Victorino all had two hits. Nickle (1-0) wound up the winner as the 51's broke a two-game losing string and are now 9-11.

At Jacksonville, lefty Randy Leek made his first start since 2002 and it was a good one as he held Mobile (Padres) to only four hits and a lone run in five innings. Leek, who missed all of 2003 after Tommy John surgery, was followed by T.J. Nall with three scoreless so the Suns went into the ninth leading 3-1.

But then disaster struck as Franquelis Osoria could manage only one out before the tying runs crossed. Luis Gonzalez (0-1) was next but two more came in to give Mobile a 5-3 win.

Derek Michaelis, back with the Suns after a short stay in AAA, hit his fourth home run, Brennan King, his third and Willie Aybar his second as Jacksonville ended a home stand with a 14-5 record and a three-game lead in the Southern League's North Division.

For Vero Beach, Mike Megrew, who had been wild in his initial appearance, was in complete control in his second as he gave up four hits and just one walk to shut out the division-leading St. Lucie Mets over five to even his mark at 1-1. The Mets did pick up an unearned run off Dimas Reina but Brian Steffek turned them away in the final two innings for his second save

Both Russell Martin and Trey Dyson had a pair of hits, giving Dyson five in eight at-bats in the two games he's played since being acquired from Cleveland. Vero is now 8-12 .

Columbus pitching was exemplary from beginning to end as the Catfish downed Lakewood (Indians) 4-2 for their fifth in a row to move to 11-7 and a tie for second in the South Atlantic"s Southern Division.

Jarod Plummer (2-1) held the Blue Claws to two runs over five innings, then Carlos Alvarez, Ozzie Rodriguez and Jamaal Hamilton blanked them the rest of the way. Hamilton has now pitched 11 innings without allowing an earned run and picked up his second save in the process.

The hottest of all young Dodger hitters, Xavier Paul, banged two doubles to raise his batting average to .348 and stretch his hitting streak to 12 games.

Player Moves--To make room for Dyson, Vero sent catcher Tom McGee back to the extended camp.