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Sosa Nails 54th - Cubs Win


For one night, Sammy Sosa had to share the spotlight with a 23-year-old rookie named Kyle Farnsworth.

That's right, Kyle Farnsworth.

Sosa hit his major league-leading 54th homer, and Farnsworth pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout and complete game as the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0 Sunday night to salvage the finale of a three-game series.

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Game Summary

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  • Sosa hit a 2-0 pitch from Darren Dreifort (11-13) into the right-field bullpen leading off the seventh to break a scoreless tie and trigger a four-run outburst as the Cubs won for just the fourth time in 21 games.

    "The last two games, they pitched me real well, and I was swinging at too many pitches out of the strike zone," Sosa said. "I came into the game trying to be patient, which is part of my game."

    Sosa's first career homer against Dreifort traveled an estimated 427 feet. Sosa, 7-of-13 lifetime with five RBIs against Dreifort, also singled twice and walked in four plate appearances.

    Los Angeles right fielder Raul Mondesi barely moved as Sosa's homer soared over his head, and the crowd of 47,411 at Dodger Stadium cheered as if Sosa played for the home team.

    "For what?" Mondesi replied when asked about not moving. "I knew it was gone. He's a strong man."

    Sosa's 54th homer came in the Cubs' 129th game and kept him well ahead of his pace of last year, when he hit his 54th homer in Chicago's 137th game on his way to 66 four short of Mark McGwire's record.

    The Cubs scored their other runs in te seventh on third baseman Adrian Beltre's throwing error and Gary Gaetti's two-run single.

    Mark Grace's sacrifice fly in the eighth made it 5-0, and Farnsworth hit a run-scoring single off rookie Matt Herges in the ninth for his third hit in 27 major league at-bats and first RBI.

    Farnsworth (3-7), winning for the first time since pitching five innings in a 10-5 victory over the Dodgers on May 11, allowed a bloop single by Todd Hollandsworth with one out in the fourth and an infield hit by Mark Grudzielanek leading off the ninth.

    Farnsworth retired 17 of the final 18 Los Angeles batters.

    "I got a lot of ground balls," Farnsworth said. "I was changing speeds well, moving the ball in and out. Things worked out well today. They hit a bunch of balls hard, they were right at people."

    "This feels great. I've been working real hard, it's finally paying off. This one's over, it's time to go on to the next one."

    Farnsworth, a 47th-round draft pick of the Cubs in 1994, had made 15 big-league starts previously, all this year. In his most recent outing, he went eight innings and allowed nine hits and one run for Triple-A Iowa last Tuesday.

    "It's not out of the blue," insisted Cubs pitching coach Marty DeMerritt when asked about Farnsworth's performance. "He's been leading up to this. When he first came up here (in late April), it was strictly a power game. What you're seeing now is refinement, a 23-year-old kid who's growing up real fast in the big leagues. He's top shelf."

    Farnsworth, who entered the game with a 6.17 ERA, walked three and struck out two in his longest and most successful outing in the majors. Previously, he had gone seven innings twice.

    "I don't know where they got that guy," Dodgers manager Davey Johnson said of Farnsworth. "He made us look bad, and everybody else has been feasting on him."

    Dreifort allowed five runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings before being relieved by Pedro Borbon, who allowed Grace's sacrifice fly.

    Notes

  • The Cubs are 22-52 since winning 32 of their first 55 games.
  • The Dodgers have a 15-11 record in August with two games remaining. Previously, their best month this season was April, when they went 13-10. They had losing records in May, June and July.
  • Dodgers second baseman Eric Young went hitless in four at-bats, ending his 10-game hitting streak.
  • Henry Rodriguez, who left Saturday's game after fouling a ball off his right foot in the first inning, was a late scratch from the Cubs' lineup. He is hitting .319 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs.
  • Sosa has as many homers, 54, as the Cubs have wins.
  • The Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates are the only NL teams Sosa hasn't homered against at Wrigley Field during his two-year home run binge. Both teams face the Cubs in Chicago next month.
  • Gaetti played in the 2,482nd game of his career. Only 39 players in big-league history have played in 2,500 games.
  • Sosa walked with one out in the fourth and immediately attempted to steal second, but was thrown out by Dodgers catcher Todd Hundley, who had thrown out only 14 of the previous 103 runners.

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

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