Down on the Dodger Farm May 27

Vero Beach has an even record today. As accomplishments go that might seem like a ho-hummer but when you consider the about face and forward march this team has done in the last two weeks, believe me, it is no trivial achievement. On May 13 the Dodgers were 15 -22 and seemingly on the road to oblivion.

The starting pitching was generally quite good but little else. The hitting was spasmodic and the relief corps seemed unable to hold any lead that might have been acquired. Since then, the reverse has been the case and Thursday night they finally reached .500 at 25-25 with a 4-3 victory over the Lakeland Tigers.

It took 14 innings to do it but do it they did just as they have so often lately, winning 10 of their last 13. Two hitters who have raised their averages over 50 points during that surge -- Joel Guzman and Delwyn Young -- were in the forefront while the bullpen responded with 8.1 scoreless innings. Chad Billingsley started and held the Tigers without a run for five but they leaped on Clint Hosford for three in the sixth. Then came Chad Bailey, Richard Bartlett, Steve Schmoll and Brandon Warriax to keep them at bay until Young doubled in the 14th and wound up scoring the winner on an error.

That was Young's second hit -- Guzman also had a pair as did Alex Requena, Rod Van Buizen and Brian Sprout. Schmoll extended his runless streak to 22 with three innings of work, then Warriax went the final three for his first decision. With the victory the Dodgers are still six games behind front-running Palm Beach in the Florida State East but still looking a lot more respectable these days.

That was all the winning in the system for another night, though. Las Vegas was dropped 4-3 at Colorado Springs (Rockies), Jacksonville suffered severe humiliation in an 18-2 thumping by Birmingham (White Sox) and a 10-7 defeat by Capital City (Mets) dropped Columbus from first place.

Rick Bell hit his third home run in two days and Antonio Perez added another but Colorado Springs made two, two-run innings off Heath Totten (2-6) stand up. Bell, who now has seven homers, also collected his 12th double while Perez, who hit No. 5, added a single. Shane Victorino singled twice and stole his fifth base for the 51's now eight out in the Pacific Coast South.

Birmingham tore Glenn Bott (1-4) apart for nine runs, then kept right on against Jose Rojas (six runs ) and Brian Steffek (three). Brennan King managed three hits and Reggie Abercrombie two in the loss which left the Suns tied for third with Tennessee in the Southern League East, two games back of Chattanooga and one behind second-place Carolina.

In the South Atlantic League, Capital City handled Phil Sobkow in the same fashion, banging him around for all 10 runs before his night was finished. Jereme Milons punched out three hits and Luis Jimenez homered (No. 8) for the Catfish who are one game back of Charleston, S.C., tied with Rome for second with Cap City just one-half game behind them in the Southern Division.

Player Moves--Trey Dyson, who has been sidelined with a bad back, came off the disabled list at Vero which also added Chad Bailey, who had been rehabbing in the extended camp after opening the season with Columbus.