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Updated: Saturday, September 20, 2003 1:39 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Chicago Cubs
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R H E
6 11 0
Pittsburgh Pirates
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
10 15 0
W Torres (6-5)
L Cruz (2-6)
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PITTSBURGH 10, CHICAGO CUBS 6 (2ND GAME)
 

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Chicago Cubs relied so heavily on their bullpen in the first game of their doubleheader with the Pittsburgh Pirates that it may have cost them in the nightcap.

After using five relievers to win the first game, the Cubs could not overcome a sub-par outing from Juan Cruz and suffered a 10-6 loss to the Pirates in the nightcap.

In the opener, Carlos Zambrano gave manager Dusty Baker just 4 2/3 innings, forcing the Cubs' skipper to use five relievers to pull out a 10-9 victory. In the nightcap, Cruz (2-6) lasted just four-plus innings and was roughed up for six runs and eight hits.

Cruz was staked to a 3-2 lead when slugger Sammy Sosa hit his 535th career homer in the top of the fifth. But after Sosa moved within one homer of Mickey Mantle for 10th place on the all-time list, Cruz collapsed in the bottom half, allowing Craig Wilson 's game-tying single and Rob Mackowiak 's go-ahead base hit.

Dave Veres , who picked up the win in Game One, gave up Carlos Rivera 's RBI double and former Cub Jose Hernandez 's sacrifice fly, putting Chicago in a 6-3 hole. Pittsburgh added a run off lefthander Shawn Estes in the sixth and two more off former closer Antonio Alfonseca in the seventh.

In Game One, Chicago's bullpen did not issue a walk, but in the nightcap it issued five.

"Everytime he (Cruz) walked somebody, they wound up scoring," Baker said. "After that we couldn't stop them from scoring. We came back in the sixth, seventh and eighth. We just can't trade scores with them. Somebody has got to hold them.

"Somewhat the choices were made in the second game by who pitched in the first. We were trying to hold them."

The loss was just Chicago's second in eight games, but dropped them 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the National League Central Division. The Cubs also fell two behind Philadelphia in the NL wild card race.

"The Pirates played good today, scored 18 runs in two games," Chicago's Moises Alou said. "We still won the first, but couldn't catch them in the second. Tomorrow we need to play better baseball. We can't be hanging our heads because we lost the second game. We've been winning lately."

"We want to win ballgames," Veres added. "We have to play better. We have Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, they play us hard. We saw that against Cincinnati last week and tonight against Pittsburgh."

Pittsburgh's Salomon Torres (6-5) lasted five innings and allowed three runs and seven hits.

Sosa's RBI single in the first gave Chicago a 1-0 lead, but Cruz allowed the tying run with one out in the bottom half as Tike Redman reached on an infield single, took second on a walk to Jack Wilson and scored on Craig Wilson 's base hit.

Pittsburgh took a 2-1 in the fourth on solo homer by Matt Stairs . It was Stairs' 20th homer of the season and marked his first 20-homer season since hitting 21 with Oakland in 2000.

The Cubs tied the game in the fourth on Cruz's infield single and then took their final lead of the night on Sosa's blast. Facing Torres for the first time since getting his batting helmet shattered with a fastball on April 20, Sosa led off the fifth by crushing an 0-2 pitch into the right field seats.

Chicago got within 7-4 in the seventh against Brian Meadows , who allowed Eric Karros ' RBI single. But former Pirate Aramis Ramirez grounded out and Alfonseca gave up three straight one-out singles and was lifted after Jack Wilson 's two-run single that made it 9-4.

"Alfonseca's got a pretty nasty slider," Jack Wilson said. "I couldn't stop from swinging at it. He got it up the zone. I swung through it. You want to play games like this at the end of the season. You know they're (the Cubs) playing for something."

In the eighth, the Cubs again climbed within three runs as Paul Bako had an RBI double and scored on Tom Goodwin 's sacrifice fly.

In the ninth, former Cub Julian Tavarez retired Sosa, Alou and Karros to secure Pittsburgh's sixth win in nine games.

"For us to beat the Cubs, it's an accomplishment," Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We beat a first-place team late in September. We have to feel good about that."


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