Chad Billingsley Just Misses No-Hitter

Las Vegas topped Portland with Ryan Rupe earning the win and Chad Billingsley took a no-hitter into the final inning before winning 4-1 over Carolina. Vero fought off a late Mets rally to win 4-3 win, sparked by three hits from Chin-lung Hu and seven strong innings from Brian Pilkington. Casper snapped Ogden's eight-game win streak 7-6 and Sergio Pedroza's average dropped from an amazing .900 to a remarkable .643. The Coasties had 18 hits in a 12-1 victory, including a homer by Eduardo Perez.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada-- Las Vegas dumped Portland 9-7 before a Holiday Fireworks Night sellout crowd of 10,157 at Cashman Field. The 51s leads the series 3-games-to-0 and are 4-1 over the last five games. The 51s recorded 13 hits and scored seven runs in the second inning that included a season-high 7 hits. Shortstop Jose Flores was 3-for-4; catcher Dioner Navarro was 2-for-3 with two doubles and 2 RBI and third baseman Willy Aybar was 2-for-4, double and RBI. Right-hander Ryan Rupe improved to 3-6. He pitched 6 innings, allowed 8 hits, 7 runs, walked 1 and struck out 5. He was also 1-for-3 with a two-run single. The 51s used six pitchers, three in the ninth inning. Right-hander Steve Schmoll pitched 0.2 innings and worked out of a bases loaded jam to earn his third save. The finale of the home stand is tonight with a Holiday Fireworks Extravaganza Show scheduled after the final out.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida-- After a three-hour, 28 minute rain delay, Suns starter Chad Billingsley came within three outs of pitching a no-hitter in a 4-1, seven-inning victory over Carolina. The fans that waited through the delay –- which caused the postponement of the second game -– were treated as Billingsley (6-4) threw the first complete game of his career, striking out nine en route to the victory. He allowed one baserunner through six innings – grazing Drew Niles with a slider in the fourth inning. Niles led off the seventh inning, lining a long double to straight away center, just out of the reach of Todd Donovan, whose speed enabled him to come close to the ball, but which passed his glove and landed about 415 feet away from home plate. A sacrifice fly later spoiled the shutout. The Suns staked Billingsley to a first inning run on Jon Weber's run-scoring single. That remained the only hit in the game until Tydus Meadows homered in the fifth. Joel Guzman doubled in Russell Martin in the sixth. Andy LaRoche also scored on the play because of an error. LaRoche walked, but went 0-for-2, ending his career-long 10-game hitting streak. Right-handers Edwin Jackson (1-1, 4.50 ERA) and William Juarez (4-1, 3.14) are scheduled to start games one and two, respectively, for the Suns against Mudcats today. Sun Spots: Guzman has 15 hits in his last 22 at bats, with 11 RBI in that span. …The Suns were without Delwyn Young, who was granted a one-day family leave by the Dodgers. He will return Sunday. David Nicholson started at second base. …Martin walked twice, giving him 51, third-best in the Southern League. …The game lasted one hour, 42 minutes, the shortest Suns game this season. --Joe Block

ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA-- Despite giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth, Vero Beach held on for a 4-3 win at St. Lucie Saturday night. Chin-lung Hu went 3-for-4, missing the cycle by only a single. Cole Bruce added his first home run as a Vero Beach Dodger. Brian Pilkington turned in seven solid innings to earn the win, while Mark Alexander struck out the last two batters of the game for his 13 save of the season. Hu put the Dodgers on the board early with a one-out home run. Vero didn't score again until the sixth when Bruce hit his homer, an opposite field blast. Meanwhile, Pilkington held the Mets bats at bay. He allowed just an unearned run in the first inning. The Mets managed just four hits and one walk against him. Pilkington struck out four and improved his record to 2-5. Vero added key runs late in the game. Hu led off the eighth with a triple and scored on a Justin Ruggiano base hit. In the ninth, Anthony Raglani led off with a walk. A.J. Ellis sacrificed him to second and Raglani advanced to third on a balk. Xavier Paul then bounced a ball to third, but Raglani beat the throw to the plate. Dodgers reliever Orlando Rodriguez struck out the side in the bottom of the 8th to keep the Dodgers on top, but he faltered in the 9th. A single and a homer pulled the Mets within 4-3. But Rodriguez got the next batter and Alexander finished it off for the Dodger victory. The Dodgers return home tonight, with Independence Day festivities and fireworks

COLUMBUS, Georgia-- 3B Blake DeWitt's towering grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled the Catfish to victory, as Columbus scored eight runs in the final two innings to stop Greensboro 8-3. The Catfish had just one baserunner in the first six innings, but scored three runs in the seventh and five in the eighth inning to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series with the Marlins affiliate. RF Ryan Russ had two hits and two RBI for Columbus in the win, and LHP Liam O'Flaherty won his first game since 2003 with an inning of scoreless relief out of the pen. RHP Jarod Plummer started the game for the Fish, his first appearance in a Columbus uniform in 2005, but promptly allowed three runs on four hits in the first inning. Plummer pitched well tonight after the first, not allowing a run over his next six innings while striking out eight. In the seventh, Russ drove home 2B Brandon Carter and DH Travis Denker with a two-run single to cut the lead to 3-2. Columbus tied the game at three on a RBI groundout later in the inning by SS Dominique Laurin. In the eighth inning, CF Jamie Hoffmann led off with a single to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Carter walked and Denker singled to load the bases. On a 1-0 pitch, DeWitt hit his eight HR of the season, a grand slam to right to give Columbus a 7-3 lead. 3B Dan Batz tripled and LF Ryan Carter drove him home with a single later in the eighth. O'Flaherty pitched a scoreless eighth for the win tonight, his first since 2003 after missing the 2004 season after Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Sunday the Catfish have a chance to win the four-game series as RHP Brandon Weeden (2-6, 4.74 ERA) draws the start.

CASPER, Wyoming--Casper snapped Ogden's eight-game winning streak with a 7-6 win. Trailing 6-3 in the 8th, the Raptors battled back to tie the score on a bases-loaded throwing error by the third baseman that sailed into right field, clearing the bases but the Rockies scored in the ninth to win. Ogden was first to get on the board as Jesus Soto doubled in the first inning and later came around to score on an RBI groundout from Russ Mitchell. A pair of home runs gave Casper the lead. The Raptors tied the game in the top of the third inning as Soto scored his second run of the game, this one coming on one of the six Casper errors. The Rockies then took a 4-2 lead in the bottom half of the inning as Eric Young Jr. scored on a throwing error. Ogden got one back in the fourth inning as Jackson hit a two-out single to score designated hitter Andrew Locke but Casper tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth to lead by three. Ogden had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth by getting runners to third and second with two outs, but BJ Richmond hit a sharp liner to the first baseman to end the inning. Aaron Klusman took the loss. Raptor Notes: Sergio Pedroza, who came into the game hitting .900, proved he was mortal when he went hitless in five at-bats. …Soto and Jackson were the only Raptors with two hits. Soto score two runs and Jackson had one of the two RBI on the night. The other four runs were all unearned. ...

VERO BEACH, Florida--The Coasties scored five in the first and romped in with a 12-1 victory, evening their record at 4-4 and banging out 18 hits against the Mets. Jeremy Brown opened the first with a single, and Adolfo Gonzalez and Eduardo Perez followed suit drive in the first run. Joshua Bell rapped out the fourth single of the inning to plate the second run before Jesus Mora added an RBI single before Kenley Jansen doubled the next two runs across for a quick 5-0 lead. They steadily built up the lead, scoring in the second fourth, sixth, eighth and nine. Perez finished 3-for-4 with a second inning homer. Jose Mora, Steve Sapp and Jansen each added three hits. Eduardo Quintana started and worked three innings, allowing one hit and the only Met run. Gary Paris (1-0) collect the win with four hitless innings and seven strikeouts. Steve Johnson and Miguel Ramirez each added a zero.

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