Down on the Dodger Farm June 14

The late great Ray Charles never sang about a rainy night in Florida, his area of concentration being the state just to the north. So let the <b>Jacksonville</b> Suns break into a chorus about it.

The Suns didn't let a one hour and 44 minute rain delay spoil their effort as they topped Carolina (Marlins) 4-2 Monday night to remain very much a part of a four team battle for first place in the Southern League East, thanks to some timely hitting by Willie Aybar and some tough relief pitching by Franquelis Osoria and Elvin Nina.

Randy Leek had pitched five good innings as a starter but the Suns still trailed 2-1 in the sixth when Aybar, who really hasn't had all that much to sing about lately, drilled his seventh home run following a Tony Schifano double. Nick Alvarez emulated Aybar's effort with his fourth over the wall, a lead that Osoria ( 2-3) protected with two perfect innings.

On came Yhency Brazoban but so did the rain for almost two hours. When play resumed, Yhency's arm had tightened so Nina was brought in for two more perfect for his first save. All this meant the Suns are just 1 1/2 back with Tennessee and Chattanooga now tied for the top and Carolina a game behind.

Columbus, however, didn't get the same type of relief and lost 6-5 to Charleston, S.C. (Devil Rays) , which means the Catfish are not only going to have to get hot but also get a lot of help if their first-half title dreams are to be realized.

A triple by Tony Abreau accounted for a pair of runs and the lead in the top of the ninth but a two-run blast off Ozzie Rodriguez (3-3) in the bottom kept the Riverdogs just 1/2 game back of Capital City and left the Fish trailing by three games in the SAL South with only six first-half games left.

Abreau, Andy LaRoche, Mike Nixon, and Xavier Paul all were good for two hits for the Fish.

Vero Beach managed only three hits as it emerged from its Florida State All-Star hiatus but one of those was a two-run blast out of the yard by Joel Guzman, (No. 11) and that was enough to measure Brevard County (Expos), 2-1. Eric Hull checked the Manatees on just that lone run for 5.2, then Jamaal Hamilton each went 1.2 innings to shut them down the rest of the way. Hamilton gained his first decision since joining this team while the side-arming Schmoll notched his seventh save.

This left the Dodgers four out in the East Division but they, too, have only six remaining in the first half.

Home runs combined with sloppy fielding did Las Vegas in as Portland (Padres) downed them 4-2. It was the fourth loss in a row and 18th in their last 26 games for the 51's, who then were ripped by manager Terry Kennedy for their continual failures.

Rodney Myers (4-1) gave up the home run that proved the difference after starter Mark Johnson delivered a worthy effort, holding a 2-1 lead when he departed after six. Koyie Hill and Rick Bell both had a pair of hits and Daylon Holt smacked his fourth home run.

Player Moves--The Dodgers received Brian Myrow from the Yankees as the player to be named in the deal that sent righthander Tanyon Sturtze to New York. Myrow, a 27-year-old infielder, was batting .268 for the Yanks' Triple A affiliate, Columbus, OH.