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Updated: Saturday, July 12, 2003 5:58 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Atlanta Braves
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
3 6 0
Chicago Cubs
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
7 11 1
W Clement (7-7)
L Ramirez (8-3)
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CHICAGO CUBS 7, ATLANTA 3
 

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Horacio Ramirez and the Atlanta Braves were on a roll, but they could not stop the surging Sammy Sosa .

Sosa homered for the fifth time in six games and had an RBI single as the Chicago Cubs snapped the Braves' season-high eight-game winning streak, 7-3.

Matt Clement allowed three runs - two earned - and five hits in a season-high eight innings to improve to 5-1 in his last six decisions. He struck out seven batters without a walk.

"I just had a game plan that I was able to execute," Clement said. "(Cubs catcher Damian Miller ) called a great game, too. My fastball got me a lot of outs and ground balls, and the guys played great defense behind me."

"He made us hit a lot of groundballs," said Braves left fielder Chipper Jones , who went 1-for-4. "Unfortunately, we didn't hit him well. He pitched well and he was in the zone most of the time, and those were strikes."

Sosa, who produced the game's first run with a single to shallow right field against Ramirez (8-3) in the first inning, gave the Cubs the lead for good, 2-1, with a home run to left leading off a six-run fourth. It was Sosa's seventh homer in nine games and 18th of the season.

"You always have to be careful with him - he has proven it over the years," the rookie Ramirez said. "That's one guy you don't want to let beat you, but he did today."

Moises Alou followed with a single, advanced to second on a walk to Eric Karros and scored on a double by Alex Gonzalez . Jose Hernandez added a double of his own to plate Karros and Gonzalez and give Chicago a 5-1 advantage.

"My pitches to Alou and Sammy did catch too much of the plate, but I was behind in the count," Ramirez said. "But when I'm behind in the count, I have to get my fastball by guys."

Two outs later, Mark Grudzielanek chased Ramirez with a double to center that knocked in Hernandez, and Ramon Martinez greeted Kevin Gryboski with an RBI triple to cap the inning.

"You know Atlanta is not going to roll over and die," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "They got a great team that plays all nine innings, so it was important to get that big inning."

Ramirez had been 7-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts since a road loss to Florida on April 11. He was roughed up for seven runs and nine hits in a season-low 3 2/3 frames.

Braves first baseman Robert Fick thought Ramirez was not getting the same calls from plate umpire Bruce Froemming that Clement was.

"Our kid was pitching his butt off and he has been around the strike zone all year and he wasn't getting the calls," Fick said. "I know Clement is one of the more effectively wild pitchers in the league but he got plenty of calls. Nothing against him - he's a good pitcher - but it's got to go both ways and today it wasn't."

Rafael Furcal hit a solo homer in the third inning and an RBI single in the eighth. He had been 1-for-10 in the first two games of the series.

The Cubs' victory was just their sixth in 18 games.

"That was a big game for us - we needed that game badly," Baker said. "We were tailspinning some and Matt Clement came in and threw a great ballgame for us, and we got the big inning that has been eluding us."


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