Chad Billingsley Pitches One-Hitter for Suns

Drew Locke drove in seven runners with two towering home runs to lead the Raptors to an 11-8 victory over the Casper. Portland Beavers defeated Las Vegas 11-9 despite five homers by the 51s. The Suns swept a doubleheader, beating the Birmingham Barons, 2-0 and 8-7, to stay in the thick of the second half pennant battle. Vero dropped a doubleheader to Jupiter, losing 5-1 and 3-2. Columbus split with Savanna, losing 8-6 and winning 3-1. The Gulf Coast League season has ended.

PORTLAND, Oregon-- The Portland Beavers defeated Las Vegas 11-9 to even the series at 2-2. The 51s recorded 12 hits and banged five homers to give them 15 home runs in the series. Shortstop Jose Flores (1-for-4) hit a lead off home run. Third baseman Norihiro Nakamura (2-for-5, 2 RBI) hit his team-leading 22nd and center fielder Cody Ross (2-for-4, 2 RBI) hit a home run (19th) for the fourth straight game. Left fielder Jason Grabowski (1-for-5) hit a solo shot in the sixth inning and pitcher Alfredo Gonzalez hit a two-run HR in the sixth. Right fielder Chin-Feng Chen was 2-for-5 and catcher Mike Nixon was 2-for-4. Right-hander T.J. Nall (6-6)suffered the loss, allowing 8 hits, 9 runs (6 earned) in four innings. Las Vegas will play its final road game of the season today.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida-- The Suns swept a doubleheader, beating the Birmingham Barons, 2-0 and 8-7, Birmingham needs one victory or Montgomery loss to clinch a playoff berth against the Suns in the first round. The Suns trail Birmingham by one-half game.
In the opener, Chad Billingsley pitched a complete game. In the fourth inning, Martin's line drive just clearing the short wall in right field to account for all the scoring. Billingsley (12-6) allowed a single with two outs in the fifth, the only hit he allowed over his seven shutout innings. Billingsley became the first Suns pitcher since Shane Loux in 2000 to win a dozen games and, with 154 strikeouts, has posted the ninth-highest single-season total in team history.
In the second game, Martin's game-tying leadoff home run and a bases loaded throwing error garnered the Suns a victory in the bottom of the seventh of the nightcap. Martin reached base in all six plate appearances in the doubleheader. A wild pickoff throw by a Barons reliever allowed Justin Ruggiano score with the game-winning run. Ruggiano went 4-for-4 in the second game, 5-for-6 in the twinbill and is batting .462 (30-for-65) in August. The Suns battled back from two deficits. Trailing 3-0 in the third, the Suns scored in each of the final five innings. Andy LaRoche knocked in two runs, the second of which, a go-ahead single in the fourth. Ruggiano's RBI double pulled the Suns to within 6-5 in the fifth. Reliever Richard Bartlett (3-2) allowed one run over 2.1 innings to earn the victory. The two teams combined for 25 hits in the second game, but only four in the first. Right-hander Joel Hanrahan (9-7, 4.98 ERA) is scheduled to face the Barons today. Sun Spots: RF Jon Weber registered his league-leading 18th outfield assist, pegging a runner out at the plate in the second inning of Game 2. … …Martin is batting .407 (22-for-54) with three home runs and 17 walks in his last 19 games. …Billingsley has allowed two runs in his last 32 innings. --Joe Block

JUPITER, Florida-- The Dodgers dropped a doubleheader to the Hammerheads, losing 5-1 in the opener and 3-2 in the second game.
Brian Pilkington (7-8) was tagged for four runs in the first inning and the Dodgers could never recover. Vero, who managed only three hits, scored in the fourth inning when Jamie Hoffman singled and later scored an unearned run on Matt Kemp's sacrifice fly. Glenn Bott closed the game out.
In the second game, a three-spot in the third inning put the Dodgers behind the eight-ball again. Matt Megrew (0-1) was KO'ed in the inning and took the loss. Casey Hoorelbeke worked 2.2 scoreless innings and Jumbo Diaz has a shutout ninth but the Dodgers could never catch up. Xavier Paul's sacrifice fly drove in one Vero Beach run and Cory Dunlap, who was 2-for-3, drove in the other.

SAVANNAH, Georgia-- RHP Steve Nelson tossed a complete game three-hitter and CF Ryan Carter hit his team-leading 11th HR of the season to give the Columbus Catfish a 3-1 win in the second game of a doubleheader with the Savannah Sand Gnats and a doubleheader split. The Fish lost the first game 8-6 despite a grand slam HR by C Chris Westervelt.
The first game of the doubleheader was a seesaw affair. With Savannah leading 1-0 on a homer, the Catfish stormed back with four in the fourth inning on Chris Westervelt's four-run shot to give the Fish a 4-1 cushion. RHP Nate Hochgesang allowed four Sand Gnat runs to score in the fourth as Savannah took a 5-4 lead. In the fifth, 2B David Nicholson homered to tie the game, and 1B Dan Batz's RBI single put the Fish back on top 6-5. With RHP Blake Johnson on in relief for Columbus, Savannah scored two runs to earn the lead back, eventually holding on to the victory by an 8-6 margin.
CF Ryan Carter broke a scoreless pitcher's duel in the second game with a three-run HR over the left-field wall. It was all the offense the Fish got -- and needed behind Nelson, who allowed just a run in the seventh for a complete-game three hitter. Nelson retired the side in order four times during the game and gave up just two singles, a double, a walk, and a hit-batsman. Today the Catfish play their final road game of the season when LHP Scott Elbert (8-5, 2.72 ERA) at Savannah.

OGDEN, Utah-- Drew Locke drove in seven runners with two towering home runs to lead the Raptors to an 11-8 victory over the Casper Rockies. Locke, who hit just 14 home runs in 739 at bats at Boston College, now has 10 homers in just 125 at bats with the Raptors. Two home runs and seven RBI are both career highs for Locke. Kengshill Pujols hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth inning. As a team, the Raptors had 12 hits to cash in on performances by pitchers Cord Wade, Aaron Klusman and Ramon Troncoso. Klusman (4-1) got the victory with 2.1 innings in relief. The Raptors' newest players, 17 year-old Trayvon Robinson, had a single to knock in the first run. Raptor Notes: Short stop Juan Rivera (3-for-5) and left fielder Adam Godwin (2-for-4, three runs scored and a RBI by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded) had big games. ... First baseman David Sutherland and third baseman Russ Mitchell were named to the 2005 Pioneer League All-star team Friday. Left-handed pitcher Brent Leach, despite leading the league in ERA, did not make the team, but did get honorable mention. Also mentioned were shortstop Juan Rivera, closer Ramon Troncoso and manager Juan Bustabad. Carey was named the team's skipper. It is the second time he has won the award (he also won in 1991 with Billings). .. John Meloan (0-1, 3.00 earned run average) will face Casper today in the final game of the series at 4 p.m.

VERO BEACH, Florida-- The Gulf Coast League season has ended.

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