McDonald Shuts Out Hard-Hitting Stockton

Jacksonville was roughed up 9-2 in a game shortened to five innings by rain and Inland Empire, behind the pitching of James McDonald and the hitting of Jamie Hoffman, stopped Stockton 5-0. Las Vegas and Great Lakes had the evening off.

Las Vegas-- Open date. In his final start for Las Vegas Tuesday night, veteran right-hander Joe Mays gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits in five innings. Mays, a former All-Star with the Minnesota Twins who went 1-2 with a 5.16 ERA for the 51s, exercised the escape clause in his contract that allowed him to become a free agent if the Dodgers didn't promote him by Tuesday.

Suns Thumped Before Rain-- William Juarez (4-2) recorded an unusual complete game, allowing nine runs on 13 hits over five innings before rain mercifully ended the contest. Chin Lung Hu tripled to lead off the game for Jacksonville, who slipped to 21-19, and scored on Xavier Paul's groundout. In the third inning Hu drew a one-out walk and scored on Paul's double to end the Suns offensive efforts for the night.

Eight of Mobile's 13 hits went for extra bases off of Juarez who lost his second game in six decisions.

Jacksonville was held to four hits, with Cory Dunlap and Wilkin Ruan collecting the other two.

Hu Can See Clearly Now-- Chin Lung Hu hit .254 last season with Jacksonville, the first time in his professional career he finished below the .300 mark.

"I couldn't focus on the ball leaving the pitcher's hand," Hu told Jeff Elliott of the Jacksonville Times Union. Hu, who was born and still lives in Taiwan during the off-season. said "I would go to the batting cage and work on it, and it was OK. But when I got up to bat in a game, when the pitcher threw the ball, it was like I was seeing more than one ball. I don't wear contacts, and they [the doctors] say my vision is fine. I'm just glad that whatever it was cleared up."

Even in a mild slump (3-for-15) this week in Mobile, Hu is still batting .358, third-best in the Southern League.

He is enjoying his best of five seasons in minor-league baseball, although his fielding percentage has dipped slightly from a year ago, when his .981 led the Southern League shortstops.

Hu has worked at switch-hitting in the batting cages on a daily basis, but he has yet to try it in a game this year. Hu did move to the left side of the batter's box one time in a spring-training game and grounded out.

Last year's Suns hitting coach, Mike Easler, first suggested that Hu try switch-hitting. Easler had seen Hu swing left-handed just for fun in the batting cage and suggested he pursue it after seeing the fluid stroke.

Jon De Watson, the Los Angeles Dodgers' director of player development, said the organization won't push Hu to make the transition a priority.

"We're not trying to force it on him," Watson told Elliott. "If he chooses to keep trying it from the left side, we're willing to let him go ahead and see if it's going to be a viable option for him. Past history says he's actually hitting right-handed pitching better than left-handers, so you hesitate to see him go to the other side and take away some of his strength.

"I do think it's something he can pick up and could use to his advantage. He's still really young (23). There's some things he still needs to work on, like driving the ball into the gaps for extra bases. But he's definitely an asset for our organization. We're just looking forward to him to continually grow his way up to the big leagues."
 Score by Innings
Jacksonville	101 000-2
Mobile	        107 01z-9

 Jacksonville	ab r  h  bi  ave
Hu ss        	2  2  1  0  .358
Ruan rf	        3  0  1  0  .273
Allen pr	0  0  0  0  .000
Paul cf        	3  0  1  2  .297
Dunlap 1b	3  0  1  0  .265
McDougall 3b	2  0  0  0  .248
Raglani lf	2  0  0  0  .254
Gonzalez 2b	2  0  0  0  .216
Apodaca c	2  0  0  0  .000
Juarez p	2  0  0  0  .125
  Totals	21 2  4  2
  Mobile 	25 9 13  8

 2B- Paul (7). 3B- Hu (3). RBI- Paul (22). 
DP- Gonzalez. LOB- Inland Empire 2, Mobile 7.

 Jacksonville	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Juaez (4-2)	5.0  13  9-9  3  5  4.79
 HB- Juarez. T- 1:35. Att- 1,149.
Lasorda Watches Sixers Win--Tommy Lasorda was on hand to watch Inland Empire cruse to a 5-0 win over Stockton as starting pitcher James McDonald (3-3) earned his third victory in as many starts, allowing three hits, walking none, and striking out nine in seven innings.

After Lasorda talked to the team for 20 minutes prior to the game, the Sixers broke a two-game losing streak. "His last three starts have all been like tonight. He got all three pitches over, and he doesn't walk guys," Collins told J. P. Hoornstra of the San Bernardino Sun.

The right-hander got solid run support. Jamie Hoffmann's three-run home run in the second inning was the Sixers' gave them a 4-0 lead.

With two out in the inning, James Tomlin doubled and Ryan Rogowski walked. Hoffman then hit a shot that cleared the fence in left-center field, his third homer this year.

The Sixers got on the board in the first inning when Hoffmann singled and later scored on a wild pitch. They added an insurance run in the fifth when Travis Denker singled home Russell Mitchell.
 Score by Innings
Stockton	000 000 000-0
Inland Empire	131 000 00x-5

 Inland Empire 	ab r  h  bi  ave
Hoffman rf	3  2  2  3  .331
DeWitt 3b	4  0  1  0  .220
May c        	3  0  1  0  .285
Mitchell 1b	2  1  0  0  .315
Denker 2b	3  0  0  0  .347
 Rivera ph-2b	1  0  1  0  .250
DeJesus ss	3  0  1  1  .236
Harper dh	4  0  0  0  .197
Tomlin cf	3  1  1  0  .308
Rogowski lf	2  1  1  0  .242
 Godwin ph-lf	1  0  0  0  .228
   Totals	29 5 8 4
   Stockton	30 0 3 0

 2B- Tomlin (2), DeWitt (9), Rogowski (9). 
HR- Hoffman (3). SB- Mitchell (1). CS- Tomlin 
(2), DeJesus (2). LOB- Inland Empire 7, 
Stockton 3.

 Inland Empire	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
McDonald (3-2)	7.0  3  0-0  0  9  2.91
Wilson	        2.0  0  0-0  0  2  2.25
 HBP- Hoffman. T- 2:29. Att- 2,367.
Great Lakes-- Open date.

Mattingly Moved to Second-- Preston Mattingly has struggled at shortstop for the Great Lakes, committing 15 errors so far, tops in the Midwest League, now has a new position: second base.

"At second base, it gives him a chance to slow (the game) down a little bit. He can knock (the ball) down and make the throw and not be as rushed or as perfect from the hole as if he's (at short)," said DeJon Watson, director of player development for the Dodgers, who was at Dow Diamond Monday night.

Watson said the Dodgers think very highly of the 19-year-old Mattingly, and want to have him at a position where there's not as much pressure to make defensive plays.

Watson said of Loons' ace Clayton Kershaw: "He will let us know when he's ready (to move up). When he's dominating this league, or if it's like he's way too talented for this league, we'll challenge him again. For us, it's making him understand where he's playing now, and being in the now, and pitching in the Midwest League."

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