Vero One Win Away From Playoff Spot

Vero Beach scraped past second place Jupiter to move their magic number to one with a 4-3 win as Brian Pilkington earned his first win of the year, helped by three hits from Tony Abreu. Russell Martin and Todd Donovan homered and pitcher Eric Stults (4-3) doubled and singled, driving in three in an 11-5 Jacksonville win that kept them in the Southern League lead. Catcher Gabriel Gutierrez had three hits but Columbus lost 6-2 and Las Vegas was thumped 11-0, losing their ninth in succession.

WEST SACRAMENTO, California-- Oakland's Seth Etherton pitched seven strong innings in his first start since being demoted to the minors, leading Sacramento to an 11-0 victory over Las Vegas. Starter Ryan Rupe (2-4) surrendered seven runs on eight hits in five-plus innings. The 51s managed just five singles in dropping their ninth straight game. Los Angeles left-hander Odalis Perez will join the Las Vegas 51s for a Major League rehabilitation assignment and make the start on today. Perez is expected to make two or three rehabilitation starts for the 51s. He has been on the disabled list since May 15 with a recurrence of shoulder tenderness he experienced late last season and early in Spring Training. Perez will be the eighth Dodgers player to join the 51s this season for a Major League rehab assignment. The other players were: RHP Brad Penny (April 18), LHP Wilson Alvarez (April 28), infielder Antonio Perez (April 28 - May 17), outfielder Jayson Werth (May 6-25), RHP Eric Gagné (May 7-12), outfielder Jason Grabowski (May 23 - June 7) and RHP Elmer Dessens (June 3-13).

ZEBULON, N.C.-- The Suns won their fifth consecutive game, extending their first-place lead to 11/2 games with an 11-5 victory over Carolina. Russell Martin hit his fifth home run, a solo shot and Todd Donovan hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give the Suns a 7-0 lead. Suns starting pitcher Eric Stults (4-3) doubled and singled, driving in three runs. He also earned the win, though he was hit hard from the fourth inning on. Tydus Meadows hit a two-run double to give the Suns an initial 2-0 lead. Meadows drove in three runs. The Suns allowed four unanswered runs to Carolina from the fifth inning on, including two home runs. Right-hander Eric Hull (4-3, fifth-best 2.87 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Carolina tonight in the final game of a three-game series. Sun Spots: Weber has 11 hits in last 15 at bats, spanning the last four games and has hit safely in nine consecutive games and 16 of 17 games. …The Suns are 11-2 in June. …The Suns are 29-3 when scoring five or more runs. …David Nicholson made his Suns debut, grounding out as a pinch-hitter. He played second base in the ninth inning. …The Suns' bullpen has allowed two earned runs over its last 27 innings. …Donovan's home run, his seventh, is one shy of his career-best. …James Loney had three hits. --Joe Block
Player of the Week--Starter Jonathan Broxton was selected as the Southern League Pitcher of the Week. He picked up two wins in two starts, the first in the Suns' 10-0 shutout and the second a 7-2 victory over North Division leader Carolina June 12. Broxton was selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2002 draft out of Burke County High School in Waynesboro, GA.

JUPITER, Florida--Vero Beach Dodgers held off a 2-out, 9th-inning rally by Jupiter Hammerheads to escape with a 4-3 win and cut their "magic number" to one. Brian Pilkington earned his first win of the year, surrendering only one run in seven innings. Tony Abreu went 3-5 with and RBI and a run scored. For six innings it was a classic pitcher's duel between the top two teams in the division vying for a playoff spot. The Dodgers were shut out for six innings and trailed 1-0 until their bats awoke in the seventh. Then Cory Dunlap and Edwin Bellorin rapped back-to-back singles with one out. Xavier Paul hit a bouncer to first base that bounced off Ryan Bear's glove and bounded into right field. That tied the game. Then an RBI single by Abreu, a run-scoring double by Chin-lung Hu and a sacrifice fly by Andy LaRoche that put the Dodgers ahead 4-1. The Hammerheads fought back in the bottom of the 9th. Closer Mark Alexander struck out the first two hitters of the inning and was ahead 0-2 before allowing a pair of singles and a double to cut the lead to 4-3. Alexander came back to strike out a pinch-hitter to pick up his ninth save of the season. There are four games remaining in the first half -- two more in Jupiter, then two at Brevard County following this weekend's All Star break. Any Dodgers win or Jupiter loss gives Vero a playoff berth.

KANNAPOLIS, NC-- With a chance to win their second road series of the season, Columbus fell behind early and never came back, losing 6-2 in Kannapolis. The home team struck for three runs in the bottom of the second inning with their 7-8-9 hitters each delivering run-scoring singles against Catfish starter LHP Scott Elbert. Catcher Gabriel Gutierrez had three this for the Fish, while 2B Brandon Carter had two. Trailing 3-0 in the third, SS Lucas May singled through the box, driving home Carter from second. After a single by DH Travis Denker, 3B Blake DeWitt extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single to center, scoring May and cutting he deficit to one run. The Catfish got no closer, as Elbert allowed runs in the fourth and fifth, finishing the game after five innings, allowing five runs on five hits, three walks and four strikeouts. The Fish complete their eight-game road trip, finishing 3-5 and have just four games remaining in the first half of the season. Columbus returns home for a seven-game homestand starting Thursday with South Atlantic League All-Star RHP Blake Johnson (4-3, 2.83 ERA) on the mound.

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