CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Wrigleyville isn't loserville anymore.
captured their first division title in 14 years with a 7-2 rout of the
in the second game of a doubleheader.
Long after police closed Clark Street in anticipation of the celebration, shortstop
handled a ground ball by former Cub
and started a game-ending double play that sent Wrigley Field into bedlam.
As first-year manager
received congratulations in the dugout, the rest of the Cubs streamed onto the field to celebrate the National League Central Division crown - their first postseason berth in five years and first title since winning the NL East in 1989.
"I don't know if Dusty has magic, but if you could bottle up and sell what he's got, you'd be a rich man. And that's why he's a rich man," Cubs first baseman
The Cubs became just the third team since the advent of divisional play in 1969 to win a title the year after losing at least 95 games. They did it under Baker, who came to Chicago a year after guiding the
San Francisco Giants
within one win of the World Series championship.
"At the beginning, when we were all 0-0, I thought, 'Why not us?'" Baker said. "But I knew we needed help and (general manager) Jim Hendry went and got us those guys."
Those guys included center fielder
, third baseman
and first baseman
, all of whom were acquired from Pittsburgh.
But the main reason for the Cubs' turnaround was starting pitching.
were a combined 16-4 after the All-Star break and
won his last three decisions.
"I think they had a remarkable run in the second half," Pittsburgh manager
said. "Their starting pitching was absolutely phenomenal. The guys we traded to them did a fine job, and I'm happy for Dusty. It's a well-deserved title."
By clinching in the penultimate game of the season, Chicago can start Wood against Atlanta in the opener of the National League Division Series.
put Chicago ahead for good in the bottom of the first inning with a long solo homer that reached the top of the shrubbery beyond the center field fence. It gave him his sixth straight 40-homer season.
"It's not about how many home runs I hit, it's about the team we have," Sosa said. "We have a great team this year - players, coaches, everybody - and this is the first time I feel like I'm in the right place."
The Cubs put themselves in position to clinch with a 4-2 triumph in the opener that followed the
' 5-2 loss to Milwaukee.
"We were watching the scoreboard, so we knew Houston lost," Sosa said.
Chicago pulled away with a five-run second inning against starter
delivered RBI singles ahead of a two-run base hit by
. An error by catcher
allowed Lofton to score to make it 6-0.
That was more than enough for Cubs starter
(14-12), who retired 13 of 14 Pirates before rookie pinch hitter J.R. House singled to open the eighth. Clement lasted just four more batters as
bounced into a fielder's choice and
tripled to spoil the shutout.
struck out, but Wilson walked and Nunez scored on a passed ball to chase the righthander.
to look at a third strike and
pitched the ninth.
"There was a lot of pressure early, but the guys gave me those early runs and I could relax and just go pitch," Clement said.
"My son told me we would (clinch) and
would get a win," Baker added.