Down on the Farm Report

His name is Jose Diaz, he's a Dominican who throws high octane when he comes in relief, Oh, yeah, he's that ex-catcher, right? No, that Jose Diaz is now employed by the Mets to whom he was traded last summer. This one, though, very much a Dodger farmhand, throws even harder and who right now is contributing considerably in the drive for first place by Columbus.

The Dodger Diaz is a 6-4, 230-pound righthander (thus called "Jumbo" ) who had suffered arm problems that held him to just seven games last summer. That's he back with a flourish can be attested to by the fact that his pitches were clocked at 99 mph the other night. He was doing it again Saturday, closing out Greensboro (Marlins) in a 5-2 victory that propelled Columbus (14-8) to within one-half game of first-place Capital City (Mets) in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division.

Greensboro pitchers did halt Xavier Paul's hit streak at 15 games but Luis Castillo, who has been batting less than .200 and back-up catcher Jared Price stepped in with two hits each, joining Luis Jimenez, who did likewise. Starter Zach Hammes gave up three runs (only one earned) in five-plus innings, then just-activated Arturo Lopez held the Bats down for his initial win. On came Diaz, who blew them away for two innings, striking out four which gives him 25 in just 14 innings.

Vero Beach (11-14) got help from some new guys plus some whose contributions had previously been negligible to get past Jupiter (Marlins) 6-4 in a 14-inning affair. Jimmy Rohan banged out three hits for the second time in as many games, Trey Dyson went two-for-two, and Alex Requena, who had been hit in the face by a pitch just a week ago, came back with two of his own plus his seventh stolen base of the season.

After starter Brad Baisley was touched for four runs (one earned ) in 5.1 innings, three pitchers who have had little to smile about so far, came on to completely turn the Hammerheads away. Steve Schmoll checked them for 3-2, then Beau Dannemiller blanked them on two hits for four to finally claim his first victory after two setbacks. Rich Bartlett finished for his first save.

Las Vegas had to wait until Shane Victorino got them some runs in the eighth for the second night in a row, falling to Fresno (Giants) 8-2. Friday, Victorino had a three-run homer, last night it was a two-run triple. Harold Eckert (0-1) gave up four runs for the 51's whose third straight loss dropped them to 9-14.

Jacksonville was rained out at Montgomery (Devil Rays) so will play a make-up doubleheader today.

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