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Cubs Lose Despite Sosa's 30th


Yes, Sammy Sosa is happy to be hitting so well. And he's honored to be mentioned in the same breath with Willie Mays, Roger Maris and Mark McGwire.

But if the Cubs don't win, all those homers he's hitting don't mean much.

Despite Sosa's 17th home run this month, the Chicago Cubs lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 Sunday when Bobby Abreu drove in four runs and Tyler Green struck out 10.

"We're not going to win every day, but today was definitely a disappointment," said Sosa, who also drove in Chicago's other run.

Sosa has always been known as a power hitter, but he's on an unprecedented streak this month.

His solo home run in the fourth inning extended his major league record for homers in June, and tied Mays' NL mark for home runs in any month. With eight games still left in June, he has a good chance to break the major league record for homers in a single month -- 18 -- by Detroit's Rudy York in August 1937.

Sosa has 30 home runs this season, and he's connected 10 times in his last nine games, and 21 times in the last 22.

Despite his hot bat, Sosa insists he's no Maris or McGwire.

"It's a free country," he said of the comparisons. "I've just got to keep going. I know what I have to do when I go up there."

Right now, that's hit home runs. When he sent Green's 2-2 pitch into the right-field bleachers, the Wrigley Field crowd gave Sosa a standing ovation. Some fans behind the dugout bowed to him as he returned.

"Sammy's so hot, I don't even have words to describe it," Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said. "He's setting standards I don't know if anyone's going to meet."

Sosa had three of Chicago's eight hits.

"When he hit the ball to left field (for a single), I went 'Phew,'" Phillies manager Terry Francona said. "He's very scary."

But not even Sosa was enough for Chicago to overcome Abreu, Green's strong pitching and the other Cubs' lack of offense.

Green (5-4) allowed five hits and two runs in six innings. Steve Trachsel (6-4) gave up four runs and five hits with five walks in 4 2-3 innings.

Abreu had RBI singles in the first and seventh innings, and he drove in two runs with a double in the fifth. Philadelphia got two more runs in the seventh on first baseman Mark Grace's error.

"He doesn't talk much, which is OK," Francona said of Abreu. "He just shows up and plays."

The Cubs got only two runners on in the first thee innings -- both on walks -- but Grace and Sandy Martinez were each caught stealing. Chicago didn't get a hit until Sosa's homer.

The Cubs strung together three singles in the sixth. But after Sosa's RBI single, Green walked Grace to load the bases before striking out the next two batters out to end the inning.

Notes

  • Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, now the consultant to the commissioner's office for special projects, was in the press box with his stop watch. Robinson has been charged with speeding up the game.
  • The Cubs optioned right-handed pitcher Kevin Foster to Triple-A Iowa Sunday and purchased the contract of outfielder Pedro Valdes. Foster, who started the season on the disabled list, appeared in three games out of the bullpen, giving up eight hits and six runs in 3 1-3 innings for a 16.20 ERA. Valdes was hitting .328 with 15 home runs and 35 RBIs for Iowa.
  • Jose Hernandez extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the fifth inning.
  • With his RBI double in the fifth inning, Abreu has now doubled in five straight games and seven out of the last eight.

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