Suns Clinch Title with 8-4 win

Jacksonville clinched the Southern League first half title with a 9-5 victory and defeats by Birmingham and Mississippi. Jon Weber had four hits and Joel Hanrahan earned the win. Las Vegas dropped its 11th game in succession 6-3 despite Cody Ross' three hits. Vero thumped Jupiter 12-2 as Cory Dunlap, Justin Ruggiano and Anthony Raglani hit home runs and every Dodger had at least one hit. Columbus set club records for runs (18) and hits (20) and a South Atlantic League record eight home runs.

SACRAMENTO, California-- Sacramento swept the four game series with a 6-3 win, dropping the 51s 0-8 on the road trip and increasing their losing streak to 11 straight, a franchise record. Cody Ross was 3-for-4 and first baseman Brian Myrow, catcher Dioner Navarro and second baseman Joe Thurston were each 2-for-4. The 51s trailed 6-0 after six but rallied and loaded the bases in the eighth inning before the next three Las Vegas hitters struck out. Right-hander Pat Mahomes (5-4) pitched 6 innings, allowed 9 hits, 6 runs, walked 6 and struck out 4 to suffer the loss. Left-hander Mike Venafro and right-hander Tom Farmer each pitched a scoreless inning.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida--Jacksonville wrapped up the Southern League South Division half-season title, banging out 14 hits, including five extra base hits to top Montgomery in front of a crowd of 7,485 at the Baseball Grounds. It was Jacksonville's first title since the second half of the 2002 season. The Suns' title was clinched when Mobile defeated Birmingham 9-3 and Mississippi lost 9-5 to West Tenn. The Suns won 13 of their 15 games in June. Jon Weber helped the Suns nail down the title with his second four-hit game in the last four days, raising his season average to .343, third in the Southern League. Weber, who ran his consecutive game hitting streak to 11 games, has 17 hits in his last 23 at-bats. Suns starter Joel Hanrahan (4-3) earned the victory, pitching a season-long 6.1 innings, walking none. Delwyn Young hit a two-run home run to boost the Suns to a 6-2 lead in the fifth inning. In his Suns debut, Andy LaRoche batted cleanup and started at third base. He doubled home Weber in the seventh, padding the lead to 7-4. LaRoche went 1-for-4 and struck out twice. Richard Bartlett induced a game-ending double play to earn his second save. Right-hander Edwin Jackson makes his first start with the Suns against Montgomery tonight. Sun Spots: Weber has hits in 18 of 19 games, going 36-for-80 (.450) during that span. …The Suns are 31-3 when scoring five or more runs. …LF Tydus Meadows did not play because of a sore groin. He is day-to-day. --Joe Block

VERO BEACH, Florida--Vero Beach bats had no trouble waking up for an 11 a.m. game and they topped the Hammerheads 12-2. Cory Dunlap, Justin Ruggiano and Anthony Raglani all hit home runs and every Dodger had at least one hit. Orlano Rogriguez pitched three scoreless relief innings to earn his first win of the year. Jupiter scored two runs in the first inning to take an early lead, but the Dodgers started chipping away in the third inning. Dominique Laurin drew a leadoff walk and scored on a 2-out single from Matt Kemp. Dunlap then tied the score with a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. Vero took their first lead in the fifth. Chin-lung Hu reached on an infield single, while Anthony Raglani and Justin Ruggiano walked to load the bases. Dunlap then doubled off the wall in right to clear the bases and give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. That advantage grew in the sixth. The Dodgers swatted four straight singles to add another run and a Raglani sacrifice fly put the Dodgers ahead 7-2. One out later, Ruggiano launched his blast over the center field fence to make it 10-2. Raglani added a two-run homer in the eighth to cap the scoring. The Dodgers will now take three days off for the All Star Break before returning to action Monday night at Brevard County.

COLUMBUS, Georgia-- Eight Catfish home runs tonight rocket the Catfish into the South Atlantic League record book, tying a single game record for home runs, as the they had a season-high 20 hits for an 18-5 win over Rome. DH Travis Denker hit three HR in the victory, tying a Columbus franchise record for home runs in a game. 2B Brandon Carter hit his first career HR and CF Jamie Hoffmann hit his first HR of the 2005 season. 3B Blake DeWitt hit the first longball for Columbus, a solo shot in the second inning. DeWitt has a ten-game hitting streak. 1B Cole Bruce continued his recent hot-hitting tear by giving the Fish a 3-2 lead with a two-run double in the second. Denker's first HR came in the third inning, a solo HR to left. While the Braves tied the game in the fourth, Bruce's 5th HR in six games put the Catfish up 5-4. Carter's first career HR after a 186 career at-bats came in the 4th inning. Denker homered again in the fifth, and C Juan Apodaca hit the sixth HR of the day, a two-run HR in the bottom of the fifth inning. In the sixth, seven straight Fish batters reached base with hits. Denker hit a three-run HR to left center, his third HR of the day and the Fish's seventh. With two outs in the inning, Hoffmann's first HR in 2005 cleared the right field wall for home run # 8. RHP Blake Johnson allowed five runs on eight hits and picked up the win. RHP Brian Akin and RHP Albenis Castillo combined for four innings of scoreless relief out of the bullpen. RHP Chris Malone (6-2, 2.98 ERA) starts against Rome tonight the Fish.

Minor League Moves--3B Andy LaRoche, who is two shy of leading professional baseball with 21 home runs, was promoted to the Suns from Class A-Advanced Vero Beach and Edwin Jackson, who was one strikeout shy of leading the Southern League in 2003, rejoins the Suns after going 3-7 with a minor-league high 8.62 ERA (among qualifiers) with Las Vegas.
Laroche hit .333 in 63 games with Vero Beach and was named a Florida State League All-Star. Still just 21, Jackson's "stuff hasn't gone backwards at all. Sometimes, you need to make a move to get someone back on track," Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta told the Los Angeles Times. Jackson will start tomorrow.

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