Down on the Farm May 3

When Chuck Tiffany was a 14-year-old Pony League star, he went up to Tommy Lasorda in an airport, introduced himself and declared that one day he'd be pitching for the Dodgers. It was an encounter they both recalled when Tommy called Chuck last June to inform him that the Dodgers had selected him in the second round of the amateur draft. Well, maybe another phone call is in order.

On a cold, wet, windy Monday evening in Greensboro, N.C., Tiffany racked up his first professional victory in a most spectacular fashion, throwing five innings of no-hit ball for Columbus before reaching his limited pitch count of the low 70's. He had to come out but Marcos Carvajal was equal to the task as well, not allowing the Marlins farm anything either to complete the seven-inning no-hitter, an 8-0 Catfish triumph.

Tiffany is a 19-year-old, 6-1, 195-pound lefthander from the LA suburb of Covina who signed so late last year that he managed to get in fewer than three innings for Ogden where he was a very unspectacular 0-0 with a 10.13 ERA. He suffered a bad groin pull in the Instructional League and was kept in the extended camp this spring working on pitch location before he finally joined the Fish.

This time "I threw my fast ball and curve where I wanted to," he declared. "I wasn't unhappy coming out at all. I hadn't pitched in the cold in a long time and I think I did okay." He walked three and struck out six while Carvajal didn't walk a man while K'ing a pair in completing the gem.

The Fish didn't leave any doubt about the outcome as Chin-Lung Hu went 3-for-3, doubling, tripling and stealing a base in the process. Luis Jimenez slammed his fifth homer and added a double while Matt Kemp drove his first out of the yard.

It wasn't a perfect evening though, for errors betrayed Columbus in the second game, which the Bats won 8-2, picking up five unearned runs off Julio Pimentel, now 3-2. Homers by Xavier Paul (#4) and Tony Abreau (#2) accounted for the Catfish runs. Still, even with the split, Columbus (15-9) moved into a tie for first place in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division with Charleston, S.C. (Devil Rays).

The hitting for both Las Vegas and Vero Beach, which seems to have spent most of the season in the ICU, revived in a big way as Vegas clubbed Tucson (Diamondbacks) with five homers and Vero mauled Jupiter (Marlins) 13-1. Jacksonville, though, was held in check by Montgomery (Devil Rays) 5-1.

Returning home from a humbling road trip that saw them drop their last four games, Vegas came to Cashman Field ranked 15th among the 16 Pacific Coast teams in hitting. But Chin-Feng Chen ripped his second and third homers of the season, Luis Garcia drove No. 5, Shane Victorino hit his second (and just missed another which bounced off the top of the wall for a double) and Antonio Perez added his second.

All this nicely backed Tanyon Sturtze, who has been the 51's most dependable starter thus far and who was so again, running his record to 3-0 with a seven -inning, five-hit, two-run outing. The victory left the 51's with a 10-15 record.

It was the second straight evening of a double-figure scoring frolic for Vero, which pushed closer to respectability at 12-14. Delwyn Young went 4-for-4 including two doubles to lead the way while Joel Guzman smacked a pair of triples plus a single and Russell Martin hit two doubles as the Dodgers blasted to a 16-hit rhythm. Mike Megrew (2-1) was in command, yielding only an unearned run in five, then Mike Rodriguez gave up only one hit in the final four.

Jason Repko doubled and singled and Sergio Garcia did likewise for Jacksonville but that was about it for the Suns. Derek Thompson saw his record evened at 1-1 as the team named the Biscuits (I'm not kidding) got to him for eight hits and four runs ( three earned ) in five innings. The setback left the Suns at 17-8, and a two-game lead in the Southern League's East.

Injury Update--Reggie Abercrombie, who had been rehabbing his injured knee in the extended camp, saw official action for the first time this season as the Vero designated hitter and showed no ill effects as he not only banged a pair of hits but followed each with stolen bases.