Down on the Dodger Farm

Jacksonville pitcher T. J. Nall's given names are Thomas John which allows him to make the wry comment that it was inevitable that he had Tommy John surgery. Have it he did in 2000 and the journey back from that has been winding with detours along the way. But it's a trip he's made considerable progress on as he showed Sunday.

Handed his first start of the season because Ryan Ketchner went on the disabled list, Nall responded with a very professional effort, holding Chattanooga (Reds) to one run in 5.2 innings. The Suns went on to win 5-2, as T.J. raised his personal mark to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.48 in the process. Vero much a control pitcher, the 23-year-old righthander kept the Lookouts off-balance throughout, scattering seven hits, walking only one while striking out two.

Jason Repko ripped his fifth home run and stole his 10th base, Nelson Castro tripled and doubled and the Suns moved back to a two-game lead in the Southern League East. Yhency Brazoban got the final four outs for his sixth save.

The hot hitters were at it again for Las Vegas which outlasted Oklahoma (Rangers) 9-6. Jose Flores pounded out a double and three singles, Luis Garcia sent home run No. 11 out, Rick Bell slammed his third, Koyie Hill stretched his hit streak to 12 games with two singles and Antonio Perez was good for a double and single.

Heath Totten appreciated the help, gaining his second win against four losses, as he went 6.1 in which he was touched for nine hits and four runs. The victory left the 51's four 1/2 out in the Pacific Coast South.

While Vero Beach had the day off, Columbus was working a double shift at Hagerstown (Giants), losing the resumption of a game suspended Saturday 6-4 but coming back for 3-1 triumph in the regularly scheduled contest.

Jereme Milons tripled, doubled and singled in the second game as Jamaal Hamilton won his first decision with 1.1 innings of relief. Brandon Weeden made his best start yet, yielding just three hits and one run in 5.2 innings.

A ninth-inning, three-run shot that followed two errors cost Jumbo Diaz (1-2) the first game. Andy LaRoche had a pair of doubles, giving him 10 for the season, and Xavier Paul smacked his third triple. The Catfish remained three games out in the South Atlantic Southern Division with the split.