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Sosa Hits 43rd HR In Cubs' Loss


Kerry Wood insisted his arm was fine. It was his pitches that hurt him.
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  • "Today was going to happen. My arm had nothing to do with it. I just got beat," Wood said after the Arizona Diamondbacks hit him hard and often Wednesday, sending the rookie to his first loss at Wrigley Field, 10-7.

    "They hit the ball, they scored runs. There is nothing wrong with my arm," Wood said emphatically. "There is nothing wrong with my arm."

    The Cubs were considering having Wood skip his next start so he could rest what is known in baseball parlance as a "dead arm," a condition that affects many pitchers after extensive throwing during the season.

    That prompted speculation that Wood, who struck out 20 batters earlier this year, was injured.

    Wood said he's ready to pitch in his next scheduled outing in five days against the Giants.

    "As far as I'm concerned I can go my next start," he said. "I'm not worried about anything. I have a start in five days and I'll be out there."

    Cubs manager Jim Riggleman, who learned after the game his 1999 option had been exercised, said Wood threw the ball well and would be evaluated after throwing on the side in St. Louis. He said if there is no fatigue, Wood will go against the Giants.

    Andy Fox and Tony Batista homered for Arizona, and Andy Benes (9-11) struck out nine in six innings, allowing six hits -- including Sammy Sosa's43rd homer -- and walking two.

    "You can't go in with the mindset thinking he's got a dead arm," Fox said. "I didn't think he pitched badly. If his arm was that dead, he wouldn't have pitched."

    Wood (11-6) had beaten the Diamondbacks twice earlier this season and reached 96 mph on the radar gun Wednesday. But he was pounded in the first two innings, and the two homers he surrendered matched the total he gave up in 10 previous home starts.

    Wood, 8-1 at Wrigley, gave up seven runs and nine hits -- both equaling career highs -- in six innings. He struck out six and walked two.

    "Everybody knows he throws 95 or 96, even 100," Batista said. "Just try to be ready for the fastball. That's what I did."

    Sosa pulled the Cubs to 5-3 in the third with a two-run homer, pulling within two of Mark McGwire, the major league leader. Sosa, 1-for-4 with three RBI, has six homers in his last 11 games.

    The Cardinals and Cubs meet this weekend in St. Louis.

    "I have a lot of the year left and I'm not thinking about anything," Sosa said. "I'm going to go see Mark McGwire. He's my man. I'm going to talk to him and see what's going on."

    Gregg Olson finished up for Arizona, pitching the ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.

    Arizona took a 3-0 lead in the first on Devon White's RBI single and Karim Garcia's two-run triple.

    Sosa hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half, but Fox homered with two outs in the second and White singled home another run for a 5-1 lead.

    Batista's homer put Arizona up 7-3 in the sixth. Chicago added a run in the bottom half when Tyler Houston's high fly turned into an RBI triple when Garcia fell down in right field, nearly catching the ball with his bare hand.

    Fox hit a two-run single in a three-run eighth. Chicago got three in the bottom half on Manny Alexander's RBI grounder and a two-run error by shortstop Jay Bell, who allowed Glenallen Hill's routine grounder to go through his legs.

    Notes

  • A CAT scan taken Wednesday on Arizona third baseman Matt Williams' right hand was negative, manager Buck Showalter said. Williams, hit by a pitch Monday night, entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth. He had just come off the disabled list from a broken foot when he was hit by a Don Wengert pitch. The swelling subsided greatly Wednesday.
  • Mark Grace was again sidelined by a sore groin.
  • Garcia's triple was his seventh of the season, tops among rookies.
  • Benes is 7-5 on the road and 2-6 at home.

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