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Baseball America's Daily Dish
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Compiled by Kevin Goldstein and Chris Kline
September 9, 2005

Just when you thought Daily Dish was out the window for the season, here we are again to wrap up yesterday's playoff action. It's not typical for us to get in and break down the postseason, but there was nothing typical about last night.

Double-A Jacksonville righthanders Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton combined on a no-hitter in the Southern League's South divisional series opener, shutting down Birmingham, 2-0.

Billingsley struck out seven and walked three over seven innings, working with his fastball in the 94-95 mph range and showed off a plus slider, hard curveball and changeup along the way.

"His secondary stuff was outstanding," Birmingham manager Razor Shines said. "Its definitely not going to hurt that we don't have to face him again in this series."

The first-rounder in 2003 has been particularly dominant against the Barons--over his last two starts, he's allowed only one hit in 14 innings, whiffing 11.

Billinglsey gave way to Broxton in the eighth, and the power reliever came with straight gas--lighting up the radar gun at 100 mph and mixing in a sharp, 85-86 mph slider.

"Those guys could have beaten most major league clubs last night," Shines said. "They were filthy. You knew early on that it was going to be a tough night, just because Billingsley was locating with everything. And then they brought in Broxton, who just blows your doors clean off. We'll get another shot at him, but I'm just glad Billingsley's done."

Knuckleballer Charles Haeger pitched well for Birmingham, allowing two runs on seven hits over eight innings. The Suns scored on an RBI single by Sergio Garcia and a sacrifice fly by Jon Weber--both in the third inning.

"Haeger couldn't have been better," Shines said. "He kept us in it, shutting down a very talented lineup. We just couldn't get anything going."

The two teams met eight times over the final 12 games of the regular season, another reason this matchup is by far the best series going in the postseason right now.

Game Two of the series continues in Jacksonville tonight, as Suns righthander Eric Hull (7-7, 3.38) will face lefthander Daniel Haigwood (6-1, 1.74).

If you're looking for a complete rundown of daily playoff results, please subscribe to the Baseball America Prospect Report.



It just might have been a night when the Dodgers' mojo was working overtime, as lefthander Chuck Tiffany fired five no-hit innings, but high Class A Vero Beach's season ended with a 4-2 loss to Palm Beach in the Florida State League playoffs Thursday. Tiffany, who also threw five shutout innings in his final start of the regular season, struck out seven and walked five.

It was an awesome pitching matchup at Triple-A Norfolk last night as Tides righthander Yusmeiro Petit went up against Toledo fireballer Joel Zumaya. Petit, who put up uncharacteristic 0-3, 9.20 numbers in three Triple-A starts, showed no signs of struggling last night against the Mud Hens, striking out 14 over eight innings. He allowed three runs on six hits and walked one.

It was a different story for Zumaya, who struck out the side in the first inning as his fastball topped out at 98 mph. He lasted just an inning after that, and allowed six runs on four hits, walked five and whiffed five. "You can have gas, but you have to control where you're throwing it and I didn't," Zumaya told the Toledo Blade. "I was throwing the ball all over the place." Added Toledo manager Larry Parrish: "It was a situation where you've got a guy who is a prospect. I could have sent him out there for the third inning, but you don't take that chance for one baseball game."

In the Carolina League, High Class A Kinston and Frederick will meet in the championship series after both clubs wrapped up the first round with sweeps Thursday night. Indians righthander Adam Miller showed some of his best command all season, but threw 32 pitches in the fifth inning and was lifted as 26-year-old CL Triple Crown winner Leo Daigle came to the plate. Miller's heavy fastball topped out at 96 mph, but it was his location with the 87-88 mph slider that was most impressive. Also impressive was Kinston's bullpen, as righthander Kyle Collins allowed just two hits over 2 1/3; Jesus Soto pitched at 95 mph with command over an inning; and lefty Tony Sipp closed it out by striking out the side in the ninth.

The key (no pun intended, seriously) to Frederick's success in a two-game sweep of Lynchburg was hitting, and Nolan Reimold led the way. The second-round pick this year out of Bowling Green State went 5-for-9 (.556) in the series with three runs scored, three steals and a pair of RBIs. The championship series starts on Saturday in Frederick.

We wrote earlier about the prospect-laden offense at Double-A Arkansas scoring runs in bunches down the stretch as they won the second-half title in the Texas League's Eastern Division. That trend has continued into the postseason as the Travelers completed a three-game sweep of Tulsa to reach the league finals, outscoring the Drillers 24-11 in the process. First baseman Kendry Morales and catcher Mike Napoli each hit three home runs in the series, while shortstop Erick Aybar was 8-for-14 (.571) with three stolen bases.

Royals outfielder Chris Lubanski has also built on his second-half surge in the postseason. The 2003 first-round pick is 9-for-10 with a pair of home runs as Class A High Desert split a pair of California League playoff games with Lancaster.

The Lakeland Tigers, who had the best record of any full-season minor league team this year, cruised in the Florida State League finals with a two-game sweep of Dunedin in the first round as league MVP Brent Clevlen hit three home runs. The Tigers will face the Palm Beach Cardinals.

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