Down on the Dodger Farm June 13

While other Dodger farm teams may flounder, <b>Columbus</b> is doing just fine in the SAL South. The problem is there are three teams between it and first place and only seven games remaining to do something about it.

The Catfish got solid pitching and hitting performances again Sunday, resulting in a 7-1 win over Charleston, S.C. (Devil Rays) which knocked that team out of first place in the division, a spot it had held since May 3. However, both Capital City and Rome also won with the former now occupying the top slot and the latter just one game out.

Zach Hammes threw five shutout innings to even his record at 3-3 as the Fish dropped the Riverdogs into second one-half game behind. Big as that was it still leaves the Fish two games out with not that much time remaining in the first half. They have one more against Charleston, three versus Rome, and finish with non-contending Savannah.

Jereme Milons led the Catfish attack with a double and two singles plus stealing two bases to raise his total to 20 in that department. Tony Abreau drove in three runs with a double and single while both Andy LaRoche and Matt Kemp had two hits.

Jacksonville suffered another excruciating loss, spotting the Carolina Braves five runs, then rallying only to fall short, 5-4. It was the first time this season the Suns had dropped back-to-back contests at home which leaves them 2 1/2 out in the Southern League East.

Derek Thompson (3-3) gave up four early runs, then had to leave the game when he twisted his ankle in the fourth inning. The Suns came back when Willie Aybar ripped his sixth homer, a two-run shot, and James Loney followed with a solo blast, his second, to close the gap. Derek Michaelis doubled and scored on a Tony Schifano single in the ninth to pull within one but the tying run never came across.

Las Vegas dropped its third straight to Edmonton (Expos), 5-3. Brian Falkenborg (0-2), making his first start since being sent down from the Dodgers, was reached for three runs in four innings. Antonio Perez hit home run No. 7 and Chin Feng Chen doubled and singled for the 51's, now 12 out in the PCL South.

Vero Beach, which has been off for the Florida State All-Star break, resumes play tonight at home against Brevard County (Expos).