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Sosa Hits 52nd - Cubs Swept

Elbow surgery, a groin problem and now a sore back. Barry Bonds has overcome them all and is playing like the All-Star he has always been.

"I don't wonder `what if,' " Bonds said Wednesday night after homering three times to lead the San Francisco Giants to an 11-5, 6-5 sweep of the Chicago Cubs.

"This is the time of the year when you see what you are made of, how far you can dig," Bonds said. "I have a lot to be proud of. I've stuck with it. I could have sat down."

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  • Bonds homered twice and drove in four runs in the opener. He then added his 25th homer of the season his eighth in the last 10 games as the Giants extended their winning streak to seven.

    Marvin Benard and J.T. Snow also homered in the second game as the Giants sent the Cubs to their 26th loss in 32 games and 50th defeat in 70 games since June 9.

    Sammy Sosa hit his major league-leading 52nd homer but couldn't rescue the Cubs.

    "Every time I go out and hit one or two or three homers, it doesn't make any difference because I want to win," Sosa said. "In our situation right now, there's not too much to say."

    Sosa connected off Kirk Rueter (12-7) in the sixth inning of the second game, breaking a tie with Mark McGwire. It came in the Cubs' 125th game and kept him well ahead of his pace last year. Sosa hit his 52nd in Chicago's 133rd game last season and finished with 66, four short of McGwire's record.

    Gary Gaetti also homeed off Rueter, who allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. The Cubs loaded the bases in the seventh after Sosa was walked intentionally by Jerry Spradlin, but managed only Glenallen Hill's RBI grounder.

    San Francisco, led by Bonds, scored all its runs in the opener with two outs.

    "His concentration level is really good right now and he's not swinging at very many bad pitches," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "Our entire offense is going pretty good, really. It's great when that happens, it means we're getting clutch hits."

    Russ Ortiz (15-8) allowed four runs and three hits in five innings and has won three straight stars to close in on 20 victories.

    "I want to do it," Ortiz said. "But I don't like to think about the future too much. But I do want to give every effort to do that."

    In the second game, Benard hit a three-run homer in the second. Bonds, knocked off the plate by a high pitch under his chin from Jon Lieber (8-8), responded on the next pitch with an opposite-field shot to make it 5-0.

    Snow, who also homered in the opener, hit his 17th to make it 6-0 in the fifth.

    Bonds, who has played in only 72 games, hurt his back in the previous series at Milwaukee but it hasn't affected his power.

    "There's a lingering tightness in my spine," he said. "The homers are just one of those things."

    In the first game, San Francisco took a 4-0 lead in the second against Kevin Tapani (6-12) as Ortiz hit a two-out, two-run single, Marvin Benard doubled in a run and Bill Mueller got a run-scoring single when second baseman Mickey Morandini slipped on wet grass while trying to field his grounder.

    "Ortiz got that hit, and if we had gotten that out, it's 0-0," Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said. "Instead, it ended up 4-0 and then it just got away from us at that point."

    Lance Johnson had an RBI single in the third, but Bonds and Snow homered in the fourth for a 7-1 lead.

    Tapani, a 19-game winner a year ago, lost his ninth straight decision since June 24, allowing seven runs and nine hits in four innings.

    "I haven't seen any quitting," Tapani said. "This is the toughest stretch the majority of guys in ths clubhouse have ever gone through."

    Reliever Steve Rain threw a bases-loaded wild pitch in the fifth, and Bonds' three-run homer made it 11-1.

    Chicago got three runs in the fifth when Morandini and Sosa drew consecutive bases-loaded walks from Ortiz and Mark Grace hit a sacrifice fly.

    "Everything seemed to be fine for four innings today and then everything seemed to blow up with control problems," Ortiz said.

    Hill hit a pinch homer off Felix Rodriguez in the ninth.

    Riggleman was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in the seventh for arguing ball and strikes.


  • The start was delayed 1 hour, 58 minutes by rain and the first two innings were played in a drizzle.
  • Bonds and Arizona third baseman Matt Williams are the only major leaguers with at least 20 homers in each year of the 1990s.
  • Bonds has 40 multihomer games, including five this season.
  • The Cubs activated reliever Rick Aguilera from the disabled list and sent lefty Dan Serafini to Triple-A Iowa. Aguilera has been on the DL since Aug. 1 with a strained left calf.
  • Hill's pinch homer was the ninth of his career and seventh with the Cubs, setting a club record. It was also his third pinch-hit homer of the season, tying a team mark. .. Robb Nen finished the second game for his 29th save in 37 chances.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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