Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
Cubs lose despite Sosa's 59th HR
Posted: Saturday September 12, 1998 01:20 AM
CHICAGO (AP) -- In Spanish, the word "suave" means smooth. In Sosa-speak, it means "look out, Sammy's going deep".
"You can see the difference when I'm thinking about right field. I'm a much better player," Sosa said. "I feel relaxed, easy. And suave."
Mr. Smooth got home run No. 59 on Friday, a solo shot over the right-field fence in the fifth inning of the Cubs' 13-11 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was his first homer in six games, and moved him within three of Mark McGwire.
Sosa is tied with Babe Ruth for the fourth-most homers in a single season. Ruth hit 59 in 1921, and 60 in 1927. McGwire broke Roger Maris' single-season record of 61 Tuesday night.
Sosa's homer wasn't enough, though, on a day when a 12 mph wind was blowing everything long. Chicago, which began the day tied with the New York Mets in the NL wild-card race, saw starter Don Wengert (1-4) hammered for five runs in 2 1/3 innings. In the sixth, Terry Adams threw run-scoring wild pitches on consecutive at-bats.
"That's not the craziest one I've ever seen here before, believe it or not," Milwaukee manager Phil Garner said. "With the wind blowing out, you never know what you're getting into."
Sosa hadn't homered since last Saturday, a five-game stretch that was his longest since August 11-15. While he said he wasn't getting very good pitches, he admitted that he'd been pressing, trying too hard to make something happen.
So before the game, Cubs hitting coach Jeff Pentland sat Sosa down for an intense, five-minute pep talk. Sosa listened closely, nodding his head several times.
He seemed more relaxed in his first two at-bats, hitting a sharp RBI single to left in the first inning and flying out to the right-field warning track in the third. Two innings later, Sosa put Bill Pulsipher's 0-1 pitch over the right-field wall, sending the fans in the right-field bleachers into a frenzy.
"That was one of the easiest swings I've swung in the last couple of days," he said.
It was just the 10th home run off of a left-handed pitcher for Sosa, and his 18th to right field. Though Sosa struck out swinging in the sixth and grounded to shortstop in the eighth, Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said Sosa is showing signs he's about to go on another of his hot streaks.
"It's been amazing to watch him," Riggleman said. "Hitting the ball to right field like that, generally it's a sign that good things are coming."
But then Adams threw three wild pitches in a row in the sixth, leading to two runs. Fernando Vina's RBI double made it 13-9.
"Sometimes that happens," Adams said. "It's part of the game. It was also part of having a bad day. I just couldn't throw the ball over the middle of the plate."
Kerry Wood was supposed to start, but he was scratched because of a sprained ligament in his right elbow and will be out at least a week.
Wengert hit Vina with a pitch in the third inning, then gave up RBI doubles to Mark Loretta and Jeff Cirillo, and a three-run homer to Jeromy Burnitz. Reliever Rodney Myers then walked Marquis Grissom and gave up an RBI double to Geoff Jenkins.
Notes: Sosa has seven homers off of the Brewers this season, more than any team but Philadelphia. ... Milwaukee's 13 runs tied the club's high for the season. ... The 3-hour, 41-minute game was the longest nine-inning game of the season for the Cubs. ... Sosa was honored before the game by Latino Baseball Magazine as the Outstanding Latino Player of 1998. Bienvenido Perez, consul general of the Dominican Republic, was there for the ceremony.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.