51s Moves Into First Place, Vero's Magic Number 5

Las Vegas lost for the sixth straight time despite Dioner Navarro's three hits and Jacksonville crushed Birmingham 13-0 behind Zach Hammes and a three-run homer by Tydus Meadows to move into a first place in the Southern League. Vero was rained out but moved closer to the FSL first-half pennant when Jupiter lost. Columbus won their first road series-opener 3-0 as RHP Chris Malone did not allow a hit until the sixth and his sixth game. Dan Batz had a two-run triple and Travis Denker homered.

TACOMA, Washington-- Tacoma defeated Las Vegas 7-4 to take a 3-games-to-0 lead in the series and hand them a season high six straight losses. The 51s recorded 12 hits as catcher Dioner Navarro was 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI and second baseman Joe Thurston was 2-for-5 with a RBI. Designated hitter Derek Michaelis hit a solo home run in the third inning to tie the game at 1-1. Right-hander Buddy Carlyle pitched 6 innings, allowed 6 hits, 4 runs and struck out 5, leaving the game tied 4-4. Right-hander Steve Schmoll (0-2) pitched the seventh inning and allowed 3 hits and 3 runs to suffer the loss. The finale of the four-game series this afternoon. 51s owner fielding offers: A change of ownership might be in the future for Las Vegas' Triple-A baseball franchise, but 51s president Don Logan said Friday that "nothing is close" to being a done deal. Logan said Mandalay Baseball Properties, the Los Angeles-based company that owns the 51s, is fielding offers for the team. "Mandalay is not actively marketing the team but is listening to offers," said Logan, a vice president and partner of Mandalay Baseball Properties. "We have had and turned down offers in the last couple years." The price tag could be in the neighborhood of $20 million, the cost of the Triple-A Salt Lake franchise earlier this year. Logan said when Major League Baseball officials showed interest in relocating the Montreal Expos to Las Vegas, the 51s became an intriguing franchise to potential buyers. "We have been approached a lot since the whole major league baseball thing surfaced," Logan said. "We got call after call during that whole period of time."

JACKSONVILLE, Florida-– With Birmingham idle because of rains from Tropical Storm Arlene, the Suns moved into a first-place tie after a 13-0 victory over the Carolina Mudcats in front of 5,337 fans Saturday. The Suns scored 10 runs in the sixth and seventh innings en route to the team's most lopsided shutout win in more than five years. Two errors by Mudcats outfielders coupled with a mental mistake by first baseman allowed the Suns to build a 3-0 lead. The Mudcats entered the game with the best record in the minor leagues, but walked eight batters and have issued 25 walks over three games after allowing the fewest walks in the Southern League. Starter Joel Hanrahan (3-3) earned the victory, delivering six shutout innings and did not allow a home run for the first time in 10 starts. The 2003 Outstanding Pitcher in the Southern League, Hanrahan is working his way through the Dodgers system while re-tuning his pitching mechanics. He was boosted to plenty of run support. Tydus Meadows hit a three-run home run over the left-center field scoreboard and also drew a bases-loaded walk. Delwyn Young and Jon Weber each homered and had three hits. For the second consecutive game, Sergio Garcia lined a bases-clearing double. Right-hander Jonathan Broxton (3-2, 3.55) is scheduled to face the Mudcats Sunday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Sun Spots: The Suns' shutout was their third over the last seven games and league-leading seventh posted this season. …The Suns' offense has scored 120 runs over the last 16 games, averaging 7.5 per game. …Six of the Mudcats' eight walked batters scored and the Suns stranded four runners. …Every Suns starting position player scored at least one run. …The win was the most lopsided shutout since a 14-0 victory Sept. 3, 1999, at Mobile. --Joe Block

VERO BEACH, Florida--Despite being rained out Saturday, the Dodgers magic number dropped to five after Jupiter lost a 6-1 decision to St. Lucie. The game with Brevard County will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday

KANNAPOLIS, NC--The Columbus Catfish won their first road series-opener this season by shutting out Kannapolis 3-0. RHP Chris Malone did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and picked up his sixth win of the season, giving up just two base hits and striking out eight in six innings. LHP Scott Elbert pitched one inning out of the bullpen and RHP Albenis Castillo tossed two innings of scoreless relief for his fourth save of the season. A two-out, two-run triple by LF Dan Batz in the fourth gave Columbus a 2-0 lead. 2B Travis Denker added a run in the sixth when he hit his eighth HR of the season, a solo shot. The round-tripper was controversial; initially ruled foul, the call was changed after a conference by both umpires. Elbert threw just one inning in his last start as a rain delay cost him additional work, and he threw a scoreless inning of relief in the seventh. Columbus has 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings over the last two games. The victory for the Fish is their second straight on the road as they improve to 9-23 away from home and 25-37 overall. RHP Zach Hammes (1-3, 4.82 ERA) makes his first start of the season tonight.

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