GCL Dodgers Open Playoff Action Today

The Gulf Coast Dodgers meet the Yankees in playoff action starting today. Inland Empire needs two wins to guarantee a playoff slot after stopping Stockton 6-5. Juan Rivera and Marion Aires booted Great Lakes to their first win in six games, 2-1 over South Bend. Jacksonville slipped four behind after a loss to Mobile

Gulf Coast Finals Preview -- The Yankees defeated the Twins 6-4 Tuesday in the first round of the Gulf Coast League playoffs, thus setting the stage for the championship series in which the Yanks will now take on the Dodgers in the best-of-three set which begins Wednesday at Dodgertown. The scene will then shift to the Yankee base at Tampa Thursday for game two with the third game, if necessary, to be played back at Dodgertown Friday.

The East champion Dodgers earned the bye into the finals by compiling the best won-lost percentage among the champions of the three divisions. The Yanks are the North Division winners.

This is the third time manager Juan Bustabad will have taken a Dodger team into the championship round. Both of the other occasions- 2001 and last season- they've been defeated, by the Yanks in 2001, and the Red Sox last year.

In most league playoffs, the finalists are familiar with each other having clashed several times during the regular season. However, in the Gulf Coast, teams play exclusively within their divisions during the regular campaign so they only have scouting reports in which to assess relative strengths.

The Yankees dominated their division with pitching- their team ERA of 2.72 was best in the league. They used their ace- righthander Noel Castillo- against the Twins so he won't be available for this series. However, they have plenty of other mound talent, chiefly righthander Jairo Herrera (2-2, 2.72) and two who were very strong in August, Manuel Berreda, who was 3-0, 1.62 during the final month and Dickson Meyers, who was 2-1, 2.00 during that time period.

Their closer is Brandon Thompson, who was seven-for-seven in save opportunities with a 1.02 ERA. Top Yankee hitters are first baseman Wady Rufino, who hit .345, and third baseman Brandon Laird, who hit .329 with eight home runs.

The Dodgers will counter with some strong hitting headed by left fielder Alfredo Silverio, who won two-thirds of the league's triple crown by leading in batting average (.373) and runs batted in (46). They also have right fielder Andrew Lamnbo, their fourth-round pick in June's draft, who hit .343, and third baseman Pedro Baez, who finished second to Silverio in the RBI chase with 39.

They suffered a loss when their most reliable starting pitcher, Kyle Smit (4-0, 2.52) was promoted to Great Lakes. They'll start righthander Daigaro Rondon (7-2, 2.77) in the opening game. They're expected to go with seventh-round draft choice Justin Miller (2-1, 3.57) in the second game.

They also have first-round draft pick, righthander Chris Withrow (0-0, 5.00) but he was used very sparingly during the season so isn't expected to be much of a factor. Second-rounder lefthander Michael Watt (0-0, 3.00) and seventh-rounder Danny Danielson (1-1, 3.48) will probably see some action. Mexican righthander Edwin Contreras (3-1, 3.30) also could see some duty.

Righthander Jonathan Dutton (5-2, 3.28) pitched the final game that allowed the team to earn the bye so probably won't be available. Righthander Eric Thompson (2-2, 4.47) was very valuable early but has slumped lately. Free agent pickup Brandon Tuten (2-0, 2.08 with two saves) is the team's closer. --Bill Shelley.

Wild Pitch Beats Vegas-- When things are going bad, a team will lose games in unusual ways. Las Vegas battled into the 11th inning before allowing the winning run on a wild pitch, losing 8-5 to Tacoma.

With the score knotted at five each, a double, walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases. Then reliever Matt Riley (4-4) bounced a wild pitch to allow Tacoma to take the lead. A two-run single allowed the Raniers some insurance.

Tacoma tagged starter Dwayne Pollok for five runs in his four innings on the mound but the 51s battled back on a two-run double by John Lindsey in the third inning He did it again in the sixth to tie the game at 5-5. Marshall McDougall had an RBI double in the fifth.

Lindsey finished 3-for-6 with four RBI, giving him 81 for the season, and Tony Abreu also had three hits and scored twice, Choo Freeman and Ken Huckaby chipped in a pair of hits each for the 51s who fell to 62-76. Chris Hoorelbeke and Jon Meloan worked five scoreless innings, allowing only a pair of hits between them to take the game into extra innings. Riley worked a scoreless 10th but things blew up in the 11th.

51s outfielder Delwyn Young was named to the 2007 All-Pacific Coast League team. Young is third in the league with a .335 batting average and first with 102 runs scored and 50 doubles.
  Score by Innings
Tacoma	        130 100 000 03-8
Las Vegas	002 012 000 00-5
  
  Las Vegas	ab r  h  bi  ave
Valdez rf	5  1  1  0  .332
Hu ss 	        6  1  1  0  .322
Abreu 2b	6  2  3  0  .350
Lindsey 1b	6  0  3  4  .339
Young dh	5  0  1  0  .335
LaRoche 3b	4  0  0  0  .298
McDougall lf	4  0  1  1  .295
Freeman cf	5  0  2  1  .295
Huckaby c	5  1  2  0  .274
    Totals	46 5 14 5
    Tacoma	44 8 12 7

  2B- Abreu (17), Lindsey 2 (21), McDougall 
(15). RBI- Lindsey 4 (81), McDougall (40). 
LOB- Las Vegas 11, Tacoma 9. DP- LaRoche, 
Abreu and Lindsey.

  Las Vegas	 in  h  r-er  bb so  era
Pollok	        4.0  8  5-5  2  3  5.59
Hoorelbeke	3.0  2  0-0  1  3  5.71 
Meloan	        2.0  0  0-0  0  3  1.69
Riley (4-4)	1.1  2  3-3  2  0  6.89
Fussell	        0.2  0  0-0  0  1  5.94
  HBP- LaRoche, by Riley. T- 3:06. Att- 2,449.
Suns Trail by Four-- Jacksonville was held to four hits and lost a 4-0 decision in Mobile. Their second-half pennant hopes dimmed with the loss and they trail Montgomery by four games with six games left in the schedule.

Starter Alvis Ojeda (4-7) gave up all four runs on six hits over in 5.2 innings. B.J. LaMura and Ramon Troncoso held the line the rest of the way but the Suns could not mount any sort of offense. starter Alvis Ojeda (4-7) surrendered four runs on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts over in 4 2/3 frames. Blake DeWitt had the only extra-base for the Suns, now 37-27, and Xavier Paul, Kevin Howard and Anthony Raglani added singles.
  Score by Innings
Jacksonville	000 000 000-0	
Mobile	        020 020 00x-4

  Jacksonville	ab r  h  bi  ave
Paul lf-rf	3  0  1  0  .295
DeWitt 3b	4  0  1  0  .297
Howard 2b	4  0  1  0  .300
Ellis c	        4  0  0  0  .263
 Raglani rf	3  0  1  0  .251
Nicholson lf	1  0  0  0  .209
Concepcion 1b	3  0  0  0  .236
Gonzalez ss	3  0  0  0  .287
Tomlin cf	2  0  0  0  .251
LaMura p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Rohan ph	1  0  0  0  .235
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
Ojeda p	        1  0  0  0  .200
 Giles cf	1  0  0  0  .182
   Totals	30 0 4 0
   Mobile	30 4 7 4

   Error- Ellis (5). 2B- DeWitt (12). 
LOB- Jacksonville- 5, Mobile 9. 
SB- Raglani (9). CS- Giles (2).

  Jacksonville	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Ojeda (4-7)	4.2  6  4-4  1  2  5.52
LaMura	        2.1  1  0-0  3  2  2.41
Troncoso 	1.0  0  0-0  1  1  3.42
  WP- LaMura 2.HBP- by LaMura. T- 2:25. 
Att- 2,911.
Sixers Magic Number Now Two-- Inland Empire reduced their magic number for a playoff spot to two by holding on to win 6-5 at Stockton.

Marlon Arias (11-4) was tagged for three runs in the first inning but completed five innings without further damage and when the Sixers rallied for three in the sixth, he collected the win, with a little help from his bullpen.

Inland Empire scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Bridger Hunt doubled and scored on Adam Godwin's single in the third; Jamie Hoffman slugged his ninth homer in the fourth and an error tied the game in the fifth.

Hunt lined a triple in a three-run sixth, scoring Hoffman and Drew Locke. Gonzalez squeezed him in with a perfect bunt.

Francisco Felix allowed two runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 6-5 but Garrett White Jacobo Meque and Kyle Wilson (save #14) each worked a scoreless inning to put the game away.

Hunt was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, a triple and two RBI, and Drew Locke also had three hits and scored twice.?

Denker Has Sparkling Debut-- Former Sixer Travis Denker homered and set a career high with six RBIs to lift San Jose past Lancaster, 9-5. Playing in his first game for the Giants, he stroked a two-run double in the fifth inning before launching a grand slam over the left-field wall in the seventh. The 22-year-old second baseman was acquired from Inland Empire as the player to be named later in the Aug. 9 trade between San Francisco and Los Angeles that sent Mark Sweeney to the Dodgers.
  Score by Innings
Inland Empire	001 113 000-6
Stockton	300 002 000-5

  Inland Empire	ab r  h  bi  ave
Godwin cf	4  0  1  1  .270
Justis 2b	5  0  0  1  .301
May c	        4  0  0  0  .250
Mitchell 1b	4  0  0  0  .264
Hoffmann rf	3  2  1  1  .313
Bell 3b	        4  0  0  0  .164
Locke dh	4  2  3  0  .288
Hunt lf	        4  2  2  0  .288
Gonzalez ss	3  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	35 6  8 6
    Stockton	38 5 10 5

 Error- Bell (3), May (4). 2B- Hunt (11). 
3B- Hunt (4). HR- Hoffmann (9). RBI- Godwin 
(29), Hoffmann (77), Justis (45), Hunt 2 (27),
Gonzalez (1). S- Gonzalez. LOB- Inland Empire 
5, Stockton 14. SB- Godwin (19). 

  Inland Empire	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Felix 	        1.0  3  2-2  1  2  5.32
White 	        1.0  1  0-0  0  1  0.00
Meque 	        1.0  0  0-0  2  3  4.80
Wilson (sv 14)	1.0  1  0-0  0  1  1.09
  WP- Meque. HBP- by Arias. PB- May 2 (30). 
T- 3:15. Att- 1,770.
Loons Break Losing Streak-- Great Lakes got strong pitching and just enough offense to top South Bend 2-1, snapping a five-game losing streak. With a crowd of 5,455 fans enjoying every minute, the club pushed their grand total for the season to a stunning 303,197.

Third baseman Juan Rivera put the Loons in front with his fourth home run of the year and he drove in the game-winning run in the third when his two-out RBI-single scored Francisco Lizarraga, who had doubled, to give the Loons a 2-0 lead.

Number 2 pick James Adkins started for the Loons and went his three innings without allowing a run and struck out a career-high five. Tim Sexton (3-0), who was selected in the 25th round, picked up his third win of the year going five shutout innings allowing five hits and striking out five. Chris Malone worked a scoreless the ninth to pick up his first save.

South Bend scored in the ninth when when a Rivera fielding error and two grounders made the score 2-1. Malone got a bouncer to second for the final out of the ballgame. 

   The series continues tonight.
  Score by Innings
South Bend	000 000 001-1
Great Lakes	101 000 00x-2

  Great Lakes  	ab r  h  bi  ave
Mattingly 2b	5  0  2  0  .231
Rivera 3b	4  1  3  2  .262
Berezay lf	4  0  1  0  .278
Perez 1b	3  0  0  0  .309
Taloa dh	4  0  1  0  .186
Santana c	4  0  0  0  .219
Van Slyke rf	3  0  0  0  .248
Lizarraga ss	4  1  3  0  .272
Robinson cf	3  0  1  0  .252
    Totals 	34 2 11 2
    South Bend	32 1  5 1
    

  Error- Rivera 2 (11). 2B- Lizarraga 2 (17). 
HR- Rivera (4). RBI- Rivera 2 (16). S- Robinson. 
LOB- Great Lakes 11. South Bend 8. SB- Mattingly 
(11). CS- Van Slyke (4). DP- Lizarraga and 
Perez; Mattingly, Lizarraga and Perez. 

  Great Lakes	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Adkins 	        3.0  0  0-0  3  5  2.74
Sexton (3-0)	5.0  5  0-0  0  5  1.89
Malone (sv 1)	1.0  0  1-0  0  0  6.09
  HBP- by Sexton. T- 2:34. Att- 5,455.
Rockies Fall on Loons-- Casper's Brandon Miller held Ogden down as the Rockies won 5-2, the latest setback in what has become a very long season for the Raptors.

Only Jovanny Rosario and Elian Herrera did much hitting against Miller as the duo combined for half the eight hits the 10-18 Raptors were able to muster. The Rockies managed only eight hits themselves but bunched them against Wilfredo Diaz (2-3) who gave up five hits in four innings which combined with three Ogden errors for four runs, half of which were earned.

Consecutive singles by Rosario, Herrera and Jaime Pedroza gave the Raptors their first run in the sixth while back-to-back doubles by Rosario and Herrera accounted for the other in the eighth. --Bill Shelley.
  Score by Innings
Casper	100 121 000-5
Ogden	000 010 010-2

  Ogden	        ab r  h  bi  ave
Rosario cf	4  2  2  0  .324
Herrera lf	4  0  2  1  .280
Pedroza dh	4  0  1  1  .360
Vetters rf	4  0  0  0  .298
Jansen c	3  0  0  0  .233
Gallagher 3b	4  0  1  0  .291
Fuller ss	4  0  1  0  .259
Ortiz 1b	4  0  0  0  .267
Dalton 2b	3  0  1  0  .233
    Totals	34 2 8 2
    Casper	34 5 8 2

  Error- Rosario (6), Jansen (2), Vetters (3). 
2B- Dalton (1), Rosario (8), Herrera (9). 
RBI- Pedroza (40), Herrera (24). LOB- Ogden 
6, Casper 10. 

  Ogden	         in  h  r-er bb so  era
Diaz (2-3)	4.0  5  4-2  4  7  4.78
Brooks	        2.0  2  1-1  2  4  6.11
Sartor	        2.0  1  0-0  0  3  1.76
Haldis	        1.0  0  0-0  0  2  6.59
  WP- Brooks. HBP- Jansen; by Diaz.
T- 2:41. Att- 4,738.
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