Down on the Dodger Farm

He became well-known in international circles; he's becoming a socko star in Las Vegas but you can't blame Luis Garcia for thinking that it's time he took his act to the big leagues. Garcia is a 25-year-old first baseman/outfielder who achieved notoriety by hitting the home run that eliminated the USA from Olympic consideration last fall. Currently, he's taken the long-ball act to Vegas where he's making a case that after six seasons in the minors he's more than ready for some time up on top.

The Indians let him become a free agent last season after he managed only seven home runs all year but Friday night he matched that total with a seventh-inning two-run bolt that carried Las Vegas past Sacramento (A's) 3-1. That clout not only gave the 51's the victory but it means that Garcia, who signed as a free agent in December, now leads the organization in homers.

Vegas, now 13-16, got three hits from Nick Theodorou and solid pitching throughout from Harold Eckert, Rodney Myers, Troy Brohawn and Doug Nickle. Eckert went 5.1 innings in which he allowed only five hits and one run but Garcia's blast gave the victory to Myers (3-0) with Nickle picking up his first save.

Around the rest of the system, though, there was only frustration. Jacksonville spent the night leaving men stranded to eventually make a winning pitcher out of an outfielder, losing to Huntsville (Brewers) 4-2 in 12; Vero may have reached its nadir as Brevard County (Expos) took them again 7-4 while Columbus dropped from first place, falling before Augusta (Red Sox) 3-2.

Jacksonville left men on in all but two of the 12 innings it played until Huntsville ran out of pitchers and had to put outfielder Johnny Raburn on the mound. But Raburn, who 'd been a pitcher in high school, held them off for two innings and the Stars finally got to Elvin Nina (3-3) for two runs to win. Before that, they'd been able to score only twice off Glenn Bott in the six innings he toiled and not at all off Luis Gonzalez and Franquelis Osoria, who split four between them.

Willie Aybar and Nick Alvarez each banged three hits and Jason Repko stretched his consecutive game streak to 13 with two for the Suns, who are 18-10 with a two-game division lead.

Vero, though, plummeted into the basement of the Florida State East as it scuffled for only three hits while Brevard pummeled three pitchers for 16. Jarod Plummer (1-1) absorbed the loss as the Dodgers (13-17) dropped their fourth decision in five games to the Manatees

And Columbus (17-11) now is a game behind Charleston, S.C. in the South Atlantic South as three errors led to two unearned Augusta runs that meant the difference. One of those came off starter Julio Pimentel and the winner counted against Alvis Ojeda (2-1 ).

Luis Jimenez hit his sixth home run, Chin-Lung Hu doubled and singled while Mike Nixon singled twice for the Catfish. Jamaal Hamilton threw 1.2 scoreless innings and has now gone 15 without an earned run.

Player Moves - With Joe Thurston was promoted to Los Angeles and Las Vegas switched Antonio Perez to second base with Jose Flores playing short.

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