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Sosa, Cubs Go Down In Flames

Mike Thurman thought it was a decent deal.

The Montreal pitcher was sporting a large ice pack on his left elbow after being hit by a pitch in the third inning, but also wound up with the victory Thursday as the Expos beat the Chicago Cubs 5-2.

"It didn't feel good," he said. "It's a fair trade for the win."

Chris Widger homered and drove in four runs. The Expos won for the fifth time in six games and completed a 5-2 road swing, their best trip since going 7-2 in August 1995.

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Game Summary

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  • The Cubs have lost 10 of 13.

    Sammy Sosa, who started the day tied with Mark McGwire for the major league home run lead with 42, went 0-for-4 with a walk. McGwire hit No. 43 the 500th of his career against San Diego on Thursday night in St. Louis.

    Mark Grace hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth and Sosa hit a long fly ball to left with two runners on for the final out. Ugueth Urbina gave up Grace's single and retired Sosa for his 23rd save in 29 chances.

    "(Wednesday) I had a better swing," said Sosa, who hit his 42nd homer that day. "Today, I had a one-handed swing. On a different day, it would've been out."

    Widger hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, an RBI single in the sixth and a two-run homer in the eighth.

    Thurman (4-7), winless in his previous seven starts, earned his first victory since June 22. He struck out a career-high seven in six innings.

    The key inning for him was the first. With runners at first and second and one run already in, Thurman got Sosa to ground into a double play.

    "That was huge. It may have been the worspitch I threw all day," said Thurman.

    "Last year, he would've given up a lot of bunch of runs," Expos manager Felipe Alou said. "He gave up only one run. That's how you win."

    The Expos won with superb defense, including a perfect throw by right fielder Vladimir Guerrero to get Sosa at the plate. Sosa was trying to score on Tyler Houston's single with two out in the sixth.

    "That was the biggest play of the game," Thurman said.

    "I didn't have a chance to slide," Sosa said. "If I slide, I'm out anyways."

    Jon Lieber (8-5) slipped to 0-2 in his last five starts. He gave up two earned runs and seven hits in seven innings.

    Curtis Goodwin, Mickey Morandini and Grace each hit singles to start the Cubs first and make it 1-0.

    Guerrero singled to lead off the fourth and moved up on a throwing error by Houston, the third baseman. Guerrero later scored on Widger's sacrifice fly.

    Widger hit an RBI single in the sixth for a 2-1 lead.

    Michael Barrett hit an RBI single in the Expos seventh, with Orlando Cabrera scoring ahead of Sosa's throw from right field.


  • Widger's career RBI high is six, set April 14 this year against Milwaukee.
  • The Cubs will play their first doubleheader of the season Friday against Houston. Manager Jim Riggleman will announce the starter for the second game after the first game.
  • Pitcher Carl Pavano and outfielder Peter Bergeron were examined in Montreal on Wednesday. An MRI of Pavano's right elbow revealed fluid and mild tendinitis. He was to receive a cortisone injection and will not throw for 10 days. Bergeron's MRI showed tendinitis in his right shoulder and he will be limited to DH duties with Triple-A Ottawa for two weeks.
  • The Expos are offering $5 tickets for all general admission, box seats and terrace seats and $1 hot dogs when they play host to San Diego on Saturday.
  • Thursday's "Erin the Bear" Beanie Baby promotion drew 38,998. The Cubs are averaging 38,998 on their six Beanie Baby giveaway days. Their record on those giveaways is 4-2.

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