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Mark Leonard, in his first-ever home at-bat for the Salt Lake Buzz, had specific instructions about what he was supposed to do - hit the ball in the air to the outfield.

"The one thing you don't want in that situation is to hit the ball on the ground," said Buzz manager Phil Roof.Leonard, who was pinch hitting with the game against the Tucson Toros tied in the ninth, promptly hit the ball on the ground.

But it worked out for Salt Lake anyway.

Leonard's ground-ball chopper with one out and the bases loaded went for a base hit to give the Buzz a 5-4 victory to start the second half of the PCL split season. The Buzz, who finished in last place with a 35-37 mark in the Northern Division first-half standings, are now 1-0 and atop the standings.

"What a way to start the second half, huh?" said Roof.

Leonard, who recently joined the Buzz and had yet to play for Salt Lake at Franklin Quest Field, was looking to win the game with a sacrifice fly.

"With the outfield in and one out, I just wanted to get the ball in the air," said Leonard. "Instead, I chopped it on the ground off of home plate. I guess it's better to be lucky than good."

It marked the sixth time this season the Buzz have won a game on their last at-bat.

Buzz starter LaTroy Hawkins struggled in the first inning, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks, but then settled in to pitch eight strong innings. He retired 19 of 20 Toros at one point.

Salt Lake scored a run on an RBI single by third baseman Todd Walker in the bottom of the first and knotted the game 3-3 on a two-run homer by catcher Jeff Horn in the third.

The game remained tied until the eighth. Tucson centerfielder Ray Montgomery hit a two-out double to right-center and then scored when Hawkins made a throwing error on what should have been the third out, giving the Toros a 4-3 lead.

Buzz centerfielder Matt Lawton led off the ninth with a line-drive homer to right off Tucson reliever Mark Small to knot the game, 4-4. After Walker walked and second baseman Tom Quinlan singled, Salt Lake designated hitter Brett Brede moved the runners to second and third with a successful sacrifice bunt. Jamie Ogden was walked intentionally to load the bases, setting up Leonard's game-winning hit that just barely bounced over Tucson first baseman Jeff Ball's head into shallow right.

Buzz reliever Jose Parra (5-1) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the victory. Hawkins, meanwhile, went eight innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out eight.

The Buzz and the Toros will play the second game of their four-game set tonight at 7. Buzz right-hander Scott Klingenbeck (3-3, 3.81 ERA) is scheduled to start against RHP Chris Holt (5-2, 3.69 ERA). Klingenbeck has the ninth best ERA in the PCL, but Holt's ERA is eighth best in the league.

BUZZ BRIEFS: Catcher Mike Durant, who spent each of the previous two seasons with the Buzz, has been optioned back to Salt Lake by the parent Minnesota Twins. He is expected to rejoin the team either today or Wednesday. Durant hit .283 in 28 games with the Twins this year. Horn, meanwhile, will be re-assigned to Double-A New Britain despite hitting .329 in 25 games with the Buzz . . . . Hawkins has now given up eight runs in 17 innings against the Toros this year. Montgomery has driven in six of his team's eight runs against Hawkins . . . . Infielder Brian Raabe, who was called up to the Twins two weeks ago, is still leading the PCL with a .370 batting average. Raabe, in two weeks in the majors, has only seen action in two games and has just five plate appearances and one hit.