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Sosa Hits No. 50, 51 In Win


If Sammy Sosa keeps up his home run pace, Cubs teammate Mark Grace might go broke.

Sosa hit his major-league leading 50th and 51st home runs Saturday his second two-homer game in as many days to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 8-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

"He might hit 80," Rockies manager Jim Leyland said. "He's hitting two a day."

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Game Summary

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  • Before the game, Grace posted an incentive list offering teammates $100 for a home run, $50 for an RBI, $50 for a run scored and $20 for a hit. After Saturday's game, Grace owed Sosa $540.

    "I told him he should do that every day," Sosa said. "Now I can pay for my car."

    "I'm going to have to give Sammy my whole paycheck," Grace said. "If you don't win, nobody gets paid. I should have done this two months ago."

    Sosa hit a solo homer with two out in the fourth inning off John Thomson (1-6) and a three-run blast to highlight a seven-run sixth. It was Sosa's 39th career multihomer game and sixth this year.

    "He's amazing," Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said. "For Sammy to hit two out is just another statement of what a great player he is."

    Sosa, who hit 66 homers last season, became the fourth player to post consecutive 50-homer seasons, joining Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr. and Babe Ruth. And for the second straight year, Sosa hit Nos. 50 and 51 on the same day only this year it came after 121 games, nine games earlier than in 1998.

    "After the year I had last year, a lot of people thought I wasn't going to do it again," Sosa said. "The team is not doing as well but until we finish I've got to go out and perform and do my job. I have to say, thank you God for giving me the opportunity to come back again and hit over 50 home runs"

    Sosa took a curtain call from the top of the dugout steps after each homer to the delight of the sellout crowd of 40,087 who saw the Cubs snap a five-game losing streak.

    The bonuses, plus a statement from Cubs general manager Ed Lynch that Riggleman will be retained for the rest of the season, helped relax the Cubs.

    "I've been hearing a lot of rumors that he's going to get fired," Sosa said. "He doesn't have any control over what happens on the field. We're the ones who go out there and play the game."

    Sosa now leads McGwire by three in the home run race.

    "Believe me, they want to (hit homers)," Colorado's Dante Bichette said. "You don't become that good at hitting home runs by flaring balls to right field."

    Micah Bowie (1-3) earned his first major league win as the Cubs won for only the second time in 13 games. Bowie, making his fourth start, struck out a season-high eight batters and gave up three runs, six hits and three walks in six innings.

    He also earned some bonus money from teammate Rod Beck, who is offering financial incentives for Cubs pitchers.

    "My wife will like that," Bowie said.

    Terry Adams got the final out for his 10th save.

    Thomson took the loss in his second start since returning from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He gave up five runs, five hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings.

    "John Thomson was absolutely outstanding," Leyland said. "The results don't show how good he pitched."

    Bowie did not allow a hit until Bichette's two-run homer, his 28th, with one out in the fourth. Sosa's first homer pulled the Cubs within 2-1.

    Todd Helton had three hits for Colorado, including an RBI double in the sixth.

    Benito Santiago tripled to lead off the Cubs sixth and scored on pinch-hitter Jeff Blauser's sacrifice fly. Lance Johnson doubled and Mickey Morandini singled before Sosa's second homer, which gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead.

    Tyler Houston added an RBI double and Jose Nieves hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot, to make it -3.

    Bichette added a run-scoring single and Vinny Castilla had a two-run double in the ninth for Colorado.

    Notes

  • Cubs outfielder Chad Meyers had a bruise on his swollen forehead and a cut on his nose after a collision Friday with Morandini. Meyers, who suffered a mild concussion, was listed as day to day.
  • Johnson was activated from the DL before the game. He had been sidelined since June 10 with an abdominal strain. Pitcher Kyle Farnsworth was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

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

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