There wasn't an angry mob of fans rushing to the Salt Lake Buzz ticket office demanding a refund following Sunday's afternoon's game, but perhaps there should have been.

"It was terrible. The fans deserve their money back," Buzz manager Scott Ullger said of his team's effort after an 8-0 loss to the Phoenix Firebirds. "That was probably our worst game of the year."He won't get much of an argument from the 7,139 fans who were melting under the August sun. The Buzz looked uninspired as they managed just six hits and no runs on the day while committing four fielding errors - which tied a team record.

Salt Lake, now 24-27 in the second half of the PCL season, has lost three straight in the series against the Firebirds, giving up 35 runs (11.7 per game) in the process. Three days ago the Buzz were one game out of first place, now they are 21/2 back with just 22 to play.

Buzz starter LaTroy Hawkins, the 21-year-old top pitching prospect in the Minnesota Twins' organization, didn't have much Sunday. He gave up all eight runs and 10 hits in just four innings.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Salomon Torres, the San Francisco Giants' top pitching prospect, was keeping the Buzz batters guessing.

"They didn't know what was coming," said Torres, who pitched eight shutout innings to improve to 3-4. "I'd throw a fastball in a slider situation and a slider in a fastball situation. On a couple of 3-2 counts I threw a changeup and they didn't know what to do with it because they were looking for the fastball."

Torres, who has spent much of the past two seasons with the Giants, finished with six strikeouts.

"To shut down a team like Salt Lake in their park is saying a lot," Firebird manager Carlos Alfonso said of Torres.

Phoenix jumped on Hawkins early. The Firebirds scored at least one run in each of the four innings including three each in the second and third. The first two batters to face Hawkins in each inning got on base. He wasn't helped by three fielding errors by teammates, either.

"(Hawkins) wasn't sharp, but he didn't pitch bad enough to give up eight runs," Ullger said. "If we make the fielding plays we're still in the ball game. When you can't execute basic fundamentals, you can't win - especially when you've got a guy like Torres pitching against you."

The only bright spot for the Buzz, if there can be such a thing in a lopsided loss, was the pitching of the bullpen. Mo Sanford and Scott Watkins pitched the final five innings and struck out eight (four each) without giving up a hit. Of course, by that time the game was already 8-0 and the outcome was clear.

The Buzz won't likely have it any easier tonight. William Van Landingham, who was sent down by the Giants just before the strike, will make his first AAA start of the year. Van Landingham, 24, was 8-2 with a 3.59 ERA in the majors. He'll face Buzz lefty Eddie Guardado (10-6, 4.62 ERA) as Salt Lake will attempt to avoid being swept.

BUZZ BRIEFS - Tim McIntosh singled his first time to the plate Sunday, giving him a Buzz record nine consecutive hits, which is only three short of the PCL record. He had hits in his final three at-bats Friday night and followed that with a 5-for-5 performance on Saturday. His streak ended in the fourth inning, as he lined out to centerfield . . . Centerfielder Rich Becker missed Sunday's game and will likely be out for a week with a sprained right wrist sustained in Saturday's game.