When Bernardo Brito was a member of the Salt Lake Buzz, there was no question he would be the team's clean-up hitter. After Brito was called up by the parent Minnesota Twins and then sent packing to play in Japan, Riccardo Ingram - Salt Lake's all-star .340 hitter - stepped into the role as the fourth Buzz hitter in the lineup.
But when Ingram was called up by the Twins after Monday night's game, the Buzz clean-up spot was open.Steve Dunn wanted - and got - the clean-up job. So far, so good for the Buzz.
Dunn, Salt Lake's left-handed hitting first baseman, went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base - his first of the year - Wednesday night in Salt Lake's 9-2 victory over the Las Vegas Stars. The Buzz are now 2-0 since Dunn replaced Ingram - the Pacific Coast League's RBI leader - in the fourth position in the lineup.
"Dunn came to (Buzz coach) Steve (Liddle) after Ingram was called up and said `I want that four slot,"' Buzz manager Phil Roof said. "It was only logical that I give it to him because he's a left-handed hitter with power. It may put a charge on him and give him a bigger load to carry and he'll carry it."
Said Dunn, "I like hitting (in the cleanup position). It's definitely a big RBI spot and I wanted to see what I could do there."
The Buzz improved to 15-12 for the second half of the season, while the Stars dropped to 10-16.
Dunn's home run, a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning, tied the game at 2-2. It was his seventh homer of the season.
"I'm trying to drive the ball and wait for my pitch more than I have been," Dunn said, who has 53 RBI this year. "The Twins want to see me hit more home runs and I want to hit more home runs, so I'm really working on being more selective so I can get a pitch I can handle. If I do that, more homers will come."
Dunn certainly wasn't the only player to contribute offensively to the Buzz victory Wednesday. For the second night in a row, all nine Salt Lake batters had at least one base hit. Salt Lake sent nine players to the plate and scored five runs on six hits against three Las Vegas pitcers in the fifth inning alone - third baseman Brian Raabe's two-run single being the biggest blow.
The Buzz padded the lead in the sixth with run-scoring singles by second baseman Mitch Simons and Dunn.
The Buzz also enjoyed a well-pitched game from starter LaTroy Hawkins and relievers Dan Naulty and Vince Horsman. Hawkins, who improved to 4-5 with the win, went seven innings, giving up six hits and two runs while getting a season-best five strike outs.
"The key tonight was Hawkins," Roof said. "The first few innings he had some zip on that fastball . . . It was a good effort and a quality start."
Roof said Hawkins could have pitched a complete game, but with 13 pitchers now on the Buzz roster he needed to give a couple of relievers work.
BUZZ BRIEFS: Stars manager Tim Flannery was tossed out of the game in the fifth inning after arguing a call for several minutes with third-base umpire Jeff Nelson . . . The Buzz and Stars will conclude their four-game series tonight. Salt Lake will start RHP Marc Barcelo (6-8, 5.80 ERA) against Greg Keagle (0-3, 6.59 ERA). The Buzz will continue their 12-game homestand Friday night when the Tucson Toros come to town . . . Among those in attendance at tonight's game will be a film crew and actors. The feature film "Paper Brigade" will shoot it's climatic seen at Franklin Quest Field during the contest . . . The newest Buzzman, left-handed pitcher Rich Robertson who was recently sent down by the parent Minnesota Twins, has reported to Salt Lake and will join Salt Lake's starting rotation during the Tacoma series.
Other PCL games
Albuquerque 4, Edmonton 3
At Edmonton, Karim Garcia hit a bases-loaded single in the top of the 13th inning to drive in the winning run.
Vancouver 8, Phoenix 4
At Scottsdale, Ariz., Luis Raven and P.J. Forbes each drove in two runs during Vancouver's five-run third inning as the Canadians handed the Firebirds their 13th straight defeat.
Tucson 11, Tacoma 2
At Tacoma, Wash., Mike Simms hit two of Tucson's five homers and doubled to drive in four runs.
Calgary-Colo. Springs, susp.
At Colorado Springs, Colo., Wednesday's game between the Calgary Cannons and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox was suspended due to rain in the top of the second inning.
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