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Updated: Sunday, August 3, 2003 10:47 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Arizona Diamondbacks
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
1 4 0
Chicago Cubs
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 6 0
W Clement (9-9)
L Villarreal (7-5)
S Veres (1)
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CHICAGO CUBS 2, ARIZONA 1
 

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks were unable to catch lightning in a bottle for a second straight day.

Sammy Sosa belted a two-run homer and Matt Clement pitched eight strong innings as the Chicago Cubs edged the Diamondbacks, 2-1, after a lengthy rain delay.

Following a 14-inning marathon loss that also was delayed by rain for three hours Friday, Arizona staged a two-run rally in the ninth inning Saturday for a 4-3 victory.

Entering their final at-bat trailing by a run in this one, the Diamondbacks could not repeat their heroics. Mark Guthrie retired Luis Gonzalez to start the inning, but Dave Veres came on and allowed an infield hit to Raul Mondesi , giving Arizona hope for another comeback.

Veres could not find the strike zone against Steve Finley , but on ball three, Mondesi was caught stealing by former Diamondback Damian Miller to keep the go-ahead run off the bases.

Finley walked, but Veres got Junior Spivey to look at a third strike, giving him his first save of the season and securing the Cubs' fifth win in seven games.

"When you lose by one, to say anything sounds like sour grapes and whining," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "But to end the game on a pitch like that is a joke. You've got players standing out there in rain and lightning. If you're gonna do that, give the hitters a chance. That final pitch was unhittable."

After waiting 3 hours, 17 minutes to start the game, Clement (9-9) performed admirably, allowing a run and three hits in eight innings. The righthander, who walked two and struck out seven, retired the first 11 batters before surrendering a two-out solo homer to Gonzalez, a former Cub.

"It was a big win today," Clement said. "Those Diamondbacks used to give me fits when I was younger, over and over, and the way (Brandon) Webb was pitching, I thought it might end 1-0."

Sosa hit his 24th homer in the seventh on an 0-1 pitch from Oscar Villareal (7-5), who was summoned from the bullpen by Brenly to face the Chicago slugger.

"I didn't hit it very good," Sosa said. "They pitched me great the whole series. That was a tough pitch. It was a slider on the outside corner and fortunately, I made good contact."

"I threw the pitch where I wanted, a slider down and away, and he still hit a home run," Villareal said. "I didn't think it would be a home run, but it was."

Webb was solid, yielding a run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out eight while lowering his ERA to 2.43, third-best in the National League.

"I wasn't real sharp," Webb said. "My changeup helped me today. Overall, I didn't feel too good."

With the Cubs trailing by a run in the seventh, Kenny Lofton drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice. Instead of letting Webb face Sosa, Brenly brought in Villareal, who watched his second pitch sail over the wall in left-center field.

"Webb threw well, but he had some command problems towards the end, kept missing low, couldn't get it back up in the strike zone," Brenly said. "Then we hit that point in the game where I felt Sammy had some good at-bats against him, so I didn't feel comfortable with another at-bat for Sammy on Webb.

"I told Oscar that Sammy would be standing on his head trying to drive that run in, and you don't need to throw him a strike to get him out. The pitch he hit wasn't a strike."

Webb escaped jams in each of the first three innings to keep the game scoreless before Gonzalez belted a 3-2 pitch from Clement in the fourth for his 20th homer, reaching that plateau for the sixth time in seven seasons.

The Cubs threatened in the sixth. Webb hit leadoff batter Troy O'Leary with a pitch and, after Aramis Ramirez grounded out, Hee Seop Choi walked. Alex Gonzalez struck out, but Webb threw four straight balls to Miller to load the bases.

Clement could not help himself, however, waving at three consecutive pitches to end the inning.


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