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Sosa Hits No. 48 & 49 In Loss


Sammy Sosa is eight games ahead of last year's home run pace. He's grabbed the major league lead for who knows how long over Mark McGwire and he's got six weeks left in his second straight monster season.

Here's his problem: His team, the Chicago Cubs, is stinking up ivy-covered Wrigley Field in a big way.

"The way we're playing, I'm not thinking about the race," Sosa said Friday when his 48th and 49th homers couldn't prevent another Cubs loss 11-3 to the Colorado Rockies, who received some jolting news during the game as GM Bob Gebhard's resignation was announced in Denver.

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  • Sosa, who has one-homer lead over McGwire before the Cardinals played the Mets on Friday night, didn't hit his 49th last season until the 128th game. The Cubs have played 120 so far. And they've lost 22 of their last 27.

    "I'm pretty concerned about the way we've been playing," said Sosa, who's first homer cleared the bleachers in left-center. "I had a great game. But in despite of it, the situation here is that we've really been struggling. No matter what we're doing, we're still losing. I have a great game and we still lose."

    Just as Gebhard lost his job because of the Rockies' poor play, the rumors are swirling around Cubs manager Jim Riggleman.

    "He doesn't have anything to do with it. No way you can blame the manager," Sosa said. "If we play better, we win. I'm not a GM and they have to make the decision. I'm supporting him. We were playing great last year. This year because of the situation, we are going in a different direction. That doesn't mean the worse for him."

    Colorado's Pedro Astacio (14-9) pitched a seven-hitter to win his fourth straigt decision, striking out nine and walking two in his sixth complete game, a team record.

    Vinny Castilla hit a two-run homer, his 26th, and had a two-run single for the Rockies, who are just 15-23 since the All-Star break. The losing led to the departure of Gebhard, the first and only GM since the franchise began in 1991, two years before the Rockies started play.

    "We all feel responsible and I say WE," an emotional Rockies manager Jim Leyland said. "I feel like we're part of why it happened. ... We disappointed Geb. We let him down."

    Some of the Rockies players learned of the resignation during the game.

    "The last couple of years we've made Don Baylor look bad and we've made Bob Gebhard look really bad," Larry Walker said. "That's not their fault. That's our fault."

    Mark Grace and Sosa homered back-to-back in the third to make it 4-2. But the Rockies took a 7-2 lead in the fourth, knocking out Kyle Farnsworth (2-7). Castilla's two-run single off Steve Rain highlighted the rally.

    Sosa, who also singled, homered again in the sixth both of his homers came against the wind before Astacio got him on a foulout in the eight.

    Terry Shumpert had an RBI triple off Sosa's glove in the eighth. Only four of the Rockies' runs were earned.

    Notes

  • Sosa joined McGwire, Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr., and Jimmie Foxx as the only players to reach 150 homers during a three-year span. Sosa has three homers this season off Astacio. It was Sosa's 38th multihomer game, including five this season.
  • The Cubs said one of Sosa's homers went 510 feet, but it appeared shorter.
  • Riggleman on rumors and reports that he could be fired: "I hear it. I see it. It's part of the process. If you're not winning at the rate we're not winning, it's always going to be there."
  • Ron Santo returned to the Cubs' radio broadcast booth to call a game for the first time since quadruple heart bypass surgery June 28. Santo had a mild heart attack several days earlier during a trip to Denver. Santo looked trim and fit and had dropped about 10 pounds. "I was told I went in with the heart of a 75-year-old man and now have one of a 35-year old," the 59-year-old Santo said.
  • Cubs center fielder Chad Meyers left in the second with a bloody nose after colliding with second baseman Mickey Morandini on Edgard Clemente's bloop single. Meyers ws hit in the head on the play and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
  • The Rockies are 22-14 at Wrigley Field, their best record at any road park.
  • Roger Bailey had five complete games in 1997.

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

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