Sosa Loses Two, Leads League

An aerial view showing part of Segamat town submerged by flood waters in the southern Malaysian state of Johor, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006. Flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains has forced more than 26,000 people to flee their homes in the southern Malaysian state.
AP
Sammy Sosa must have gotten a good night's sleep.

Sosa homered twice to raise his major league-leading total to 45, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 5-1 victory Wednesday over the San Diego Padres.

The Cubs, who outlasted the Padres in a 4-hour 48-minute, 13-inning marathon Tuesday night, won for the fifth time in 19 games and won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game streak July 29-31.

"It didn't look like he played 13 innings last night," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said of Sosa. "He's resilient. He looked like it was opening day."

Sosa led off the fourth inning against Brian Tollberg with his first homer since Aug. 21 to break a 1-1 tie. With two outs and two on in the fifth, Sosa hit a 3-1 pitch from Tollberg into the left center field bleachers to go ahead 5-1.

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Game Summary

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  • "I was just trying to make contact," Sosa said. "(Tollberg) pitched me great."

    It was Sosa's fifth two-homer game this season and 44th of his career. In his last 16 games, Sosa has nine homers and 17 RBIs. He is on pace to finish with 55 homers.

    "I'm not the type of person who looks at the stats," Sosa said. "I just want to be ready every day. If I do that, the numbers will be there."

    With one on and two outs in the seventh, Tollberg intentionally walked Sosa, who finished 3-for-3 with a single in the first.

    "He's leading the league in home runs for a reason," Tollberg said.

    Jon Lieber (12-7) gave up one run and four hits in eight innings to set his career high in wins, set in 1997. He struck out seven and raised his career-high innings total to 209 2-3.

    Cubs manager Don Baylor talked to Liebeabout going the distance but pulled him after 112 pitches.

    "A complete game was not the most important thing for me," said Baylor, who doesn't want to overuse Lieber and plans to give him extra rest the remainder of the season.

    "He pitched great and hit his spots but we didn't," San Diego's Ryan Klesko said. "When you make mistakes to big hitters, it's tough. Sosa made us pay both times."

    Tollberg (3-3) gave up five runs and 10 hits in eight innings, striking out four, as the Padres lost for only the fourth time in the last 11 games.

    Damian Jackson tripled with one out in the Padres' first and scored on Klesko's double.

    The Cubs answered in the first with Mark Grace's two-out, RBI double, scoring Sosa who had singled.

    Notes

  • Sosa has an eight-game hitting streak. He has driven in 122 runs, tops in the NL, and posted his third straight 120 RBI season. Hack Wilson is the only other Cub to accomplish that feat, driving in at least 120 runs from 1927-30. "I never met Hack Wilson but I know who he is," Sosa said. "Hopefully, when I retire people will remember me like Hack Wilson." Sosa's last multihomer game was Aug. 18. Sosa has hit 250 homers since Opening Day 1996.
  • San Diego RHP Donne Wall was not available because of a sore shoulder. His status was day to day.
  • Tollberg has walked two or fewer batters in 10 of his 14 starts.
  • After the game, the Cubs outrighted OF Brant Brown to Class AAA Iowa and purchased the contract of OF Ross Gload from Iowa. Brown was batting .173.

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