Abreu Smacks Five Hits, Grand Slam, to Boost Vero

Harold Eckert allowed two hits over seven innings and struck out 10 as Las Vegas defeated Colorado Springs, 6-1. Eric Hull worked six innings but took the loss as Jacksonville dropped a 3-2 decision to Birmingham. Tony Abreu went 5-for-6, including a grand slam home run, to give the Dodgers an 11-5 win over Dunedin. Kannapolis beat Columbus both ends of a doubleheader, 7-2 and 2-1. Helena scored five in the first to dump Ogden 12-3 and three unearned runs cost the Gulf Coast Dodgers a 4-3 loss

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado-- Harold Eckert allowed two hits over seven innings and struck out 10 as Las Vegas defeated Colorado Springs, 6-1. Eckert (5-3) was dominating as he retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced. He didn't allow a hit until allowing a home run with one out in the fourth inning to cut the Las Vegas lead to 4-1. He allowed two hits -- including the homer in the fourth -- in seven innings. The SkySox helped out when a pickoff attempt wide of first with the bases loaded, allowing Willy Aybar and Mike Nixon to score in the second. Jose Valentin, who hit at least 25 home runs a season for the Chicago White Sox from 2000-'04, clubbed his first dinger for the 51s in the second inning to make it 4-0. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley arrived late and entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning. He stayed in the game as the center fielder, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Valentin also had two hits. X-Files: Las Vegas has been selected as the host city for the 2008 Baseball Winter Meetings. Each year the Winter Meetings attract approximately 4,000 individuals, including top minor league executives, and representatives from companies exhibiting at the Meeting's Baseball Trade Show, the largest baseball related trade show in the world. 2008 will mark the first time Las Vegas has ever hosted the Baseball Winter Meetings. The Las Vegas Hilton will be the host site.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida-- Despite a late comeback, the Suns' lost a 3-2 to Birmingham. The Barons tagged Suns starter Eric Hull for a run in the first inning. Hull retired eight in a row after the first three reached and pitched six innings, his longest outing since June 10. However, Hull (5-5) left trailing and earned the loss. Tydus Meadows RBI double tied the game, 1-1 in the fourth. The Barons scored the go-ahead run in the fifth off Hull and added a leadoff home run in the eighth off Suns reliever Jason Olson. In the ninth, Nick Alvarez threw out a runner at the plate trying to score, then singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to a single run. James Loney had three hits, including a two-out, ninth inning double. Right-hander William Juarez is scheduled to face Barons tonight.

VERO BEACH, Florida--Tony Abreu went 5-for-6, including a well-timed grand slam home run, to give the Dodgers an 11-5 win over Dunedin. Chin-lung Hu added four hits and Casey Hoorelbeke earned the win in relief to improve his record to 6-1. The Dodgers let a 5-0 lead slip away when a Hoorelbeke wild pitch tied the score in the top of the 7th. The Dodgers answered immediately in the bottom of the inning. Cole Bruce reached on an error, Cory Dunlap walked and Jamie Hoffman reached on a bunt single to load the bases. After a strikeout, Jimmy Rohan, who singled in the winning run in the 10th last night, hit a bouncer to first base. The Jays forced out Hoffman but Rohan beat the throw to first to make it 6-5 Dodgers and keep the inning alive. Xavier Paul followed with a walk to set up Abreu's grand slam. The Dodgers finished their 8-game homestand with six wins. Vero is off today but returns to action in St. Lucie Wednesday.

COLUMBUS, Georgia-- Kannapolis beat Columbus both ends of a doubleheader, winning 7-2 in the first game and 2-1 in eight innings in the nightcap. The Fish have lost four straight games.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Kannapolis never trailed, scoring runs in the first four innings to stop the Fish 7-2. Kannapolis scored two unearned runs in the first inning off starter LHP Chad Bailey. The Fish got a run back in the first, but Kannapolis scored two more runs in the second and another in the third. LHP Liam O'Flaherty tossed 4.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing two runs in relief. 2B Travis Denker and C Chris Westervelt each had two hits for the Fish in the loss.
In the nightcap, RHP Chris Malone allowed a solo home run in the second inning but settled in to shut down the Intimidators through six. Malone allowed just one run on five hits, striking out six. The Fish were hitless until the fourth inning, but were able to scratch out a run on an RBI groundout by Westervelt to tie the game at one. Despite loading the bases in the seventh with the winning run at third and one out, the Fish could not score and gave up the eventual winning run in the top of the eighth on a fielder's choice. 3B Blake DeWitt had two hits. The Catfish send RHP Zach Hammes (3-4, 4.50 ERA) to the hill tomorrow in the third game of the series.

OGDEN, Utah-- Ogden lost the opening night game of a three game series to Helena a score of 12-3. the Brewers scored five runs in the first two innings off starter Marlon Arias (2-1) and never looked back. Ogden didn't pick up their first hit until the 4th inning when BJ Richmond lead off with a single, Juan Apodaca followed with another single but both runners were left on base. The Raptors finally got on the board in the bottom of the 5th as Jesus Soto and David Sutherland scored runs that were driven in by Russ Mitchell and Richmond. It was the second loss in a row for the Raptors who are started a seven game homestand. Justin Crist and Sutherland had two hits each.

JUPITER, Florida-- The Gulf Coast Dodgers jumped into an early 3-0 lead but the Nationals scored an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth to win 4-3. Matthew Paul singled in a pair of runs in the second and Carlos Santana doubled across the third run in the third. The Nats tied the game with three in the fifth. Charles Dasni started and worked three hitless innings. Juan Flores allowed three run (one earned), before leaving in the fifth. Wilfredo Diaz closed the fifth and added two more hitless innings. Gary Paris (1-2) was tagged with the loss when he recorded a strikeout that was scored a wild pitch to open the inning. His attempted pickoff was wild and the runner ended up on third, then scored when the third baseman Carlos Santana made a running catch in foul territory. Paul had a pair of hits for the Coasties.

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