Down on the Dodger Farm July 8

Back home in Oklahoma, Brandon Weeden was noted for his prowess in football; for Matt Kemp the sport was basketball. That both chose baseball instead may well prove to benefit the Dodgers considerably.

Weeden was a standout quarterback for Santa Fe High in Edmond but when the Yankees made him a second-round choice in the 2002 draft, he turned away from the gridiron to become a pitcher (although shortstop was his position at the time). The Dodgers acquired him in the Kevin Brown deal and sent him to Columbus where he has had something of an uneven season. But when he's right -- and he certainly was Thursday -- he can be quite a prospect as showed in a 12-0 crushing of Charleston, S.C.

Weeden threw six of those shutout innings, holding the Riverdogs to just three hits while striking out five. Meanwhile the offensive impetus was provided by Kemp with a two-run blast in the first. That was the 10th of the year for Kemp, who had been All-State in hoops for Midwest City High before the Dodgers chose him in the sixth round last June.

Jereme Milons provided his ninth homer, a double and single and Jared Price chipped in with a double and two singles for the Catfish, who are tied for third in the SAL South, just 1 1/2 games off the pace.

Elsewhere, though, the number of first-place Dodger farm teams, which had been four a couple of weeks ago, dwindled to one .

Vero Beach 0-3, Lakeland 2-2--The Dodgers split a makeup doubleheader with the Tigers to retain a share of the top spot in the Florida State East with Daytona. They managed only three hits in the opener in which a fifth-inning homer off Casey Hoorelbeke (2-3) was enough for Lakeland. Vero didn't do much more hitting in the second -- just four -- but one of those was a two-run rip to the Holman Stadium berm by Scott Gillitzer, his sixth. Mike Rodriguez (3-1) turned in a nice relief stint (2.2 innings, one hit, 0 runs) in the win. Jumbo Diaz was touched for an unearned run in the seventh but picked up his fifth save.

Idaho Falls 7, Ogden 5-The Chukars got to Matt Alexander (0-1) for the winning runs in the 11th inning and the Raptors dropped their fourth in a row to lose first place in the Pioneer South to Provo in the process. Blake Johnson gave up four runs in five innings and Justin Orenduff, a first-round supplemental pick in the recent draft, allowed only one hit in three. Emilio Marcos hit his first homer.

Expos 3, GCL Dodgers 1--Alfredo Gonzalez made his first rehab start but was roughed up for three hits and two runs in the one inning he worked. That was enough to send the Dodgers to their fourth successive defeat and drop them a game off the pace in the East. David Pfeiffer threw four in which the Expos could manage only two hits and one unearned run, bringing his ERA down to 0.47. Cory Wade added four scoreless. Jesus Mora doubled and singled .

Jacksonville 4, West Tennessee 1--Ryan Ketchner (6-2) was excellent, going 7.2 in which the Diamond Jaxx could muster only three hits. Brennan King achieved a career high with his 10th homer, a three-run blast. Shane Victorino sent his seventh out of the yard. Elvin Nina recorded his second save. The Suns are five out in the Southern League East.

Salt Lake 11, Las Vegas 4--Heath Totten (4-9) was clipped for five runs in 6.2 innings but most of the damage was done against Augustin Montero when the Stingers counted six times in the ninth. Joe Thurston was the only one of the 51's with two hits. Vegas is 15 behind in the PCL South.