Down on the Dodger Farm June 22

Many of the minor leagues split their seasons in two to provide everybody with that well-known second chance. For Eric Stults, though, it was a much welcome first opportunity to get back to the game. Stults was very much a revelation in 2002 as a 15th round draft choice who shot through the system all the way to AA. Last year, though, was one blighted by arm miseries that resulted in surgery that cost him most of the season.

Tuesday night he started on the road back, down at Columbus but very much up on the mound as his relief work was one of the big reasons that Columbus conquered Charleston, S.C, 9-3 .

The visiting Riverdogs had scored three of starter Chuck Tiffany in the fifth inning when lefthander Stults was called on. He stopped that rally, then threw two more hitless frames to be rewarded with the victory when the Catfish poured eight runs across in the seventh, an inning climaxed by Alejandro De Aza's first home run of the season. Mike Nixon had started the surge with the second of his two doubles

That was about all the good news in system, though.

Salt Lake 8, Las Vegas 6--The 51's had built a 5-0 lead only to see it blow away when the Stingers got to starter Heath Totten for five runs and Eric Knott (0-2) for three. Brian Myrow, recently acquired from the Yankees for Tanyon Sturtze, had two doubles and a single and Luis Garcia whacked his 19th home run. Vegas is 14 back in the PCL South.

Fort Myers 5, Vero Beach 2--The Dodgers opened the Florida State second half in sluggish fashion with the Miracle driving Casey Hoorelbeke (1-2) out in the fifth. Scott Gillitzer homered (No. 5) and Joel Guzman tripled to run his consecutive game streak to 17. Alex Requena, who leads the league, stole bases 25 and 26.

Idaho Falls 9, Ogden 6--When you hear that only three of the opposition's runs were earned, you'd say the defense betrayed the pitchers but in this case the pitchers were the culprits, committing the three errors that did the damage themselves. Scott Elbert, the Dodgers' first choice in the recent draft, debuted by striking out the side but ran into trouble after that. He wound up going 3.2 innings, giving up three hits and four runs (three earned).

He wasn't the loser, though. That went to Gabe Alvarez (0-1) who was reached for three runs without a hit in 2.1 innings. Luis Castillo, who's been ripping the ball, lined three more hits but the Raptors fell below .500 at 2-3.

GCL Mets 9, Dodgers 8--Trailing 7-4 going into the final inning, the Mets pushed five across to even the opening series at one apiece. Cory Wade (0-1) was banged around at the start of the inning, then Kale Garrison walked three straight batters to provide the winning runs. Matt Paul had two key hits. Rehabs Jeremy Giambi and John Barnes both played for the Dodgers.

Jacksonville--Opens Southern League second-half play at home against Birmingham tonight.