Vegas, Jacksonville Stay Close to League Lead

Eric Hull pitched a complete game shutout and James Loney smacked a homer as Jacksonville held its slim lead in the Southern League on the strength of a 5-0 victory over Chattanooga. Jason Grabowski was 5-for-5 with two doubles and home run and Cody Ross added a homer as Las Vegas remained one game behind Sacramento with an 8-7 win over Fresno. Columbus stopped Asheville 4-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Phil Sobkow plus a triple and a homer by Ryan Russ. Vero was again rained out.

DRAFT COVERAGE--LADugout will cover the First-Year Player Draft as it happens June 7-8, providing continuous information about the Dodger draft choices. The club has fewer early picks than recent years, after losing their first selection to Boston as compensation for signing free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe. The Dodgers receive the Mariners' second-round pick (No. 53) for losing Adrian Beltré, because a team drafting in the top half of the draft cannot lose its first-round pick. And the Dodgers retained their second-round pick (No. 76). Logan White, Director, Amateur Scouting, has three choices in the first 76 this year, but none until No. 40, the sandwich pick between the first and second round that was additional compensation for losing Beltré. Last year, the Dodgers had four choices in the first 58.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada--The 51s defeated Fresno 8-7 before a Fireworks Night crowd of 9,012 at Cashman Field. Las Vegas improved to 2-3 on the home stand and remains one game behind Sacramento, although the two teams are tied in the loss column. Vegas recorded 16 hits and scored four runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-3 lead. Left fielder Jason Grabowski was 5-for-5 with two doubles, home run and three runs scored. Catcher Dioner Navarro was 3-for-4; right fielder Cody Ross was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in the fifth inning and first baseman Brian Myrow was 2-for-3. Right-hander Pat Mahomes (5-2) pitched 6.2 innings, allowed 11 hits, 6 runs, walked 2 and struck out five to earn the win. Right-hander Franquelis Osoria pitched the final 2 innings, earning his team-leading 7th save. Game two of the four-game series today.

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee--Eric Hull pitched his first career complete-game shutout, a five-hitter and did not allow a runner past second base, keeping the Suns in first place by beating the Chattanooga Lookouts, 4-0. Hull (3-3) struck out nine in the Suns' first nine-inning shutout in nearly two years. Embroiled in a three-team tie for first place, the Suns' eighth victory in 10 games sealed their top spot for at least another day. James Loney hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead. Tydus Meadows doubled in Russell Martin in the fourth and Martin scored ahead of Brian Sprout's two-run home run in the seventh. The Suns did not reach double-digit hits for the first time in 10 games, but six of the eight hits were for extra bases. Right-hander Joel Hanrahan (2-3, 4.98 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Chattanooga in the second game of a four-game series today. Sun Spots: Heath Totten pitched the Suns' last nine-inning, complete-game shutout July 10, 2003. …The Suns have five shutouts this year. …INF Sergio Garcia (hamstring) was activated from the disabled list. INF Jimmy Rohan was promoted to Class AAA Las Vegas. …The Suns have beaten the Lookouts in all four games this season. --Joe Block

VERO BEACH, Florida--The doubleheader between the Vero Beach Dodgers and the St. Lucie Mets was cancelled due to unplayable field conditions. Sunday's game between the Dodgers and Daytona will be played at the normal 1:00 PM start time.

COLUMBUS, Georgia--Outfielder Ryan Russ hit a two-run HR in the second inning and added an RBI triple in the third, helping the Catfish to a 4-1 win over Asheville. RHP Phil Sobkow (2-2) threw five strong innings for the Catfish, allowing just one unearned run on six hits, and RHP Kyle Wilson picked up his first Catfish save with a scoreless ninth inning. 3B Blake DeWitt walked to lead off the second inning before Russ hit his third HR of the season on the next pitch to give the Catfish a 2-0 lead. DeWitt walked in the third and Russ drove a shot to the right-center gap, scoring DeWitt with a triple. Meanwhile, Sobkow worked through five innings in just his second start of the season, allowing just an unearned run in the third inning. In the eighth inning, with a 4-1 lead, DH Travis Denker walked and Russ singled to left, his third hit of the game. C Juan Apodaca broke out of a 0-14 slump by doubling into the right field corner, scoring Denker and giving Columbus a 4-1 lead. Wilson polished off the best hitting ballclub in the SAL with a scoreless ninth inning, as the Catfish split the first two games. The Catfish send RHP Chris Malone (5-2, 2.36 ERA) to the hill today. Malone has thrown two straight complete games, taking a perfect game into the ninth inning in his last start. He has allowed just four earned runs in his five starts.

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