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BUZZ WIN SLUGFEST WITH `BIRDS

Pacific Coast League baseball returned to Salt Lake City Sunday afternoon.

Sure, the Buzz had already played five home games prior to Easter, but Sunday was the first time a typical, high-scoring, anything-can-happen game the PCL is famous for (or is it infamous for?) was played at Franklin Quest Field this season.Salt Lake shook off a four-game scoring slump and a three-run early deficit to beat Phoenix 12-6 Sunday. The win evened the Buzz's record at 5-5, while the Firebirds fell to 7-3.

"This was a normal PCL game," said Buzz manager Phil Roof. "It worries you, though. You don't even feel safe with a six-run lead."

The Buzz, who scored a combined five runs in their previous four games, broke out of their scoring slump in a big way Sunday. Salt Lake pounded 17 hits with all nine batters getting at least one hit and seven players getting two or more.

Roof thinks the offensive onslaught is just what the doctor ordered. "Anytime you score big like that it makes the guys feel good about themselves and relaxes them," he said. "If we can have a game like that once or twice a week it will make a big difference to our offense."

The Buzz took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when designated hitter Bernardo Brito singled home left fielder Riccardo Ingram, but the Firebirds came right back to open up three-run leads on two occasions. When Ray Ortiz hit a solo home run off of Buzz starter Jon Henry in the fourth inning, Phoenix had a 5-2 advantage.

Buzz shortstop Andres Duncan's two-out, two-run triple to right scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth and Salt Lake knotted the game, 5-5, in the fifth on an RBI single by Ingram.

Salt Lake took the lead for good with a five-run sixth inning, the big blast being a three-run homer to left by Brito, the leading active home run hitter in minor the minor leagues. It was Brito's third homer of the season and 281st in his minor league career.

With the Buzz leading 11-6 in the top of the eighth, the Firebirds were in a position to scratch their way back into the contest. Phoenix had the bases loaded and no outs and Ortiz, who was 3-for-3 with a double and a homer to that point Sunday, at the plate. Ortiz rocketed a line drive straight up the middle right at Buzz reliever Bill Wissler's thigh. Wissler, in an act of self defense as much as anything, got his mitt in front of the ball, caught it and then turned and threw to second base to double off Barry Miller.

"That was game-saving play," Roof said of Wissler's catch and double play.

Said Wissler, "I didn't have much time to react. Luckily it went right in my glove."

After the double play, reliever Matt Stevens entered the game finished off the Phoenix threat by forcing a fly ball to center from Brent Cookson for the third out.

"Our relief pitching has been tough all year," said Buzz catcher Damian Miller.

Ingram continues to be the hottest hitter on the team. He has at least one hit in all 10 games and has five multiple hit games already. Sunday Ingram went 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles, two RBI and he scored three runs.

Brito broke out of a bit of a slump, with two hits and four RBI.

BUZZ BRIEFS: The Buzz and Firebirds will play the third game of their four-game series tonight at 7 p.m. with a pair of veteran major leaguers on the mound. Mike Trombley (0-1), who has spent the better part of the past three years with the Twins, will start for Salt Lake against Phoenix's Wally Whitehurst (0-0), who has played the past two seasons with the San Diego Padres and was with the Mets before that . . . Marty Cordova, the Buzz leftfielder last season, is making it less and less likely he'll return to play in Salt Lake this season. Cordova is tearing it up for the parent Minnesota Twins in exhibition games in Florida. Sunday he hit his second homer in three days, had two hits and four RBI as the Twins downed the Chicago White Sox, 13-2 . . . The Twins are expected to start sending a few players from their 40-man roster down to Salt Lake any day now. Some of the players that may wind up in Buzz uniforms shortly include pitchers Gus Gandarillas, Oscar Munoz and Brad Radke as well as infielder Brian Raabe and catcher Mike Durant.