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Sosa's HR overshadowed by beaning, defeat

SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- For a scary moment, neither the game nor their excellent start mattered to the Chicago Cubs. Not when Sammy Sosa was clutching at his broken helmet, a look of fear and anger crossing his face.

Sosa got the biggest scare of his career Sunday when he was hit in the batting helmet by a Salomon Torres fastball, but apparently wasn't seriously hurt as Cubs lost 8-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sammy Sosa's helmet tells the tale after he is hit by a Salomon Torres pitch.  
Sammy Sosa's helmet tells the tale after he is hit by a Salomon Torres pitch. (AP) 
The pitch struck Sosa with such force it left a hole in his batting helmet, but neurological tests were negative. Sosa didn't even have a headache after the game, only a few cuts caused by his damaged helmet.

"The helmet saved me," said Sosa, who hit his 504th career homer earlier in the game. "Yeah, I've never gotten hit like that before."

Torres (2-0), who shares the same Dominican Republic hometown as Sosa, also was shaken but still pitched five shutout innings in relief of injured Pittsburgh starter Josh Fogg. Fogg lasted only an inning because of a strained abdominal muscle.

The Pirates won for only the second time in eight games and ended the Cubs' five-game winning streak.

Sosa had no chance to duck away from Torres' up-and-in pitch with the Pirates leading 7-2 in the fourth. Sosa initially glared at Torres, then clutched at his helmet as he realized what had happened.

Sosa never went down, though he looked dazed as trainer Dave Tumbas asked him a series of questions. He walked off the field without help and was examined by Pirates doctors, then by those at a nearby hospital. He returned to the clubhouse shortly after the game ended.

Before the game, Sosa and Torres exchanged greetings near the Pirates' bullpen and wished each other luck.

"I never meant to hit him," said Torres, who was out of organized baseball for five seasons before joining the Pirates last season. "I felt very badly about it. We're from the same town and he's like an idol to me."

Sosa tied Eddie Murray for 17th place on the career homer list with his two-run shot in the first off Fogg, who injured an abdominal muscle while batting in his previous start.

"Once he got on the mound, you could tell he didn't have anything," manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Torres limited the Cubs to one hit through the sixth inning, only to be lifted himself after being hit in the left knee by Juan Cruz's pitch in the sixth.

"They told me a couple of days ago they might need me for this game," Torres said. "So I paid close attention and really went over all the hitters in my head as (Saturday night's) game went along, in case I had to pitch."

The Pirates, held to three runs or fewer in 12 of their previous 13 games, took advantage of some poor Cubs infield defense and Shawn Estes' wildness to open the 7-2 lead in the third. Estes (1-2) allowed seven hits and walked three in three innings.

"We didn't play good defense," manager Dusty Baker said. "It was 5-2 in the second, and it should have been 2-2. I'm disappointed because we didn't play a very good game."

Pokey Reese's two-run single -- his only hit of the series -- and third baseman Mark Bellhorn's two-base error on Torres' bunt keyed the five-run second. The Pirates scored more runs in the inning than they did in all but one of their previous 13 games.

The Pirates twice got hits on grounders that second baseman Mark Grudzielanek couldn't make a play on, Reese's single between first and second and Kenny Lofton's two-run single.

"The baseball gods owed us that," Lofton said. "We've been hitting the ball hard but had nothing to show for it."

Pittsburgh had been held to nine runs while losing four of their first five to the Cubs.

Before his big scare, Sosa hit his fifth homer of the season and 475th with the Cubs. It was his fourth homer in nine games and ran his hitting streak to 10 games. Sosa needs seven homers to tie Mel Ott for 16th place and eight to tie Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews for 14th place.

Notes

  • Joe Beimel, Brian Boehringer and Scott Sauerbeck followed Torres with a scoreless relief inning each.
  • The Pirates didn't commit an error for only the fourth time in 18 games.
  • Pittsburgh is 6-0 when scoring more than four runs.
  • Lofton was 2-for-26 in seven games before getting three hits.
  • The Cubs were denied only their second series sweep in two seasons.
  • Estes was the first Cubs starter to lose in six games.
  • Reese had six strikeouts and grounded into a double play in his other seven at-bats in the series.
AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
 
 
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Mark Grudzielanek, 2B411000 .347
Alex Gonzalez, SS400000 .325
Sammy Sosa, RF111200 .333
    Troy O'Leary, PR-RF200000 .143
Moises Alou, LF401000 .323
    Mike Remlinger, P000000 .000
Eric Karros, 1B402000 .250
Corey Patterson, CF400002 .284
Mark Bellhorn, 3B400000 .214
Paul Bako, C201010 .438
Shawn Estes, P100001 .000
    Juan Cruz, P000000 .000
   a- Ramon Martinez, PH000010 .267
    Kyle Farnsworth, P000000 .000
    Lenny Harris, LF000000 .267
Totals3026223 
a-walked for Cruz in the 7th
Batting
HR - Sammy Sosa (5, Fogg)
SH - Juan Cruz (1)
RBI - Sammy Sosa 2 (20)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Grudzielanek-Gonzalez-Karros, Estes-Grudzielanek-Karros
E - Mark Bellhorn (2, MISSED CATCH)
Shawn Estes (L,1-2) 3775310 5.14
Juan Cruz 3311030 6.97
Kyle Farnsworth 1000100 2.16
Mike Remlinger 1000020 4.50
HBP - Torres (by Juan Cruz)
Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Estes 69-43, Juan Cruz 45-27, Kyle Farnsworth 14-8, Mike Remlinger 10-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Estes 5-2, Juan Cruz 2-3, Kyle Farnsworth 1-2, Mike Remlinger 1-0
Batters Faced - Shawn Estes 18, Juan Cruz 12, Kyle Farnsworth 4, Mike Remlinger 3
Kenny Lofton, CF503200 .225
Jack Wilson, SS402100 .185
Adam Hyzdu, RF400001 .143
Aramis Ramirez, 3B422000 .234
Reggie Sanders, LF321010 .308
Kevin Young, 1B301011 .296
Craig A. Wilson, C210120 .000
Pokey Reese, 2B411202 .222
Josh Fogg, P000000 .333
    Salomon Torres, P220001 .000
    Joe Beimel, P000000 .000
    Brian Boehringer, P000000 .000
   a- Abraham Nunez, PH100001 .143
    Scott Sauerbeck, P000000 .000
Totals32810646 
a-struck out for Boehringer in the 8th
Batting
RBI - Kenny Lofton 2 (8), Jack Wilson (4), Craig A. Wilson (1), Pokey Reese 2 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Jack Wilson (4)
CS - Kenny Lofton (1, 2nd base by Cruz/Bako)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - J. Wilson-Reese-Young, J. Wilson-Reese-Young
Josh Fogg 1322001 4.35
Salomon Torres (W,2-0) 5100110 1.93
Joe Beimel 1200110 3.38
Brian Boehringer 1000000 8.59
Scott Sauerbeck 1000010 1.17
HBP - Sosa (by Salomon Torres)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Fogg 15-10, Salomon Torres 43-25, Joe Beimel 20-11, Brian Boehringer 8-5, Scott Sauerbeck 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Fogg 1-1, Salomon Torres 6-7, Joe Beimel 2-0, Brian Boehringer 1-2, Scott Sauerbeck 2-0
Batters Faced - Josh Fogg 5, Salomon Torres 17, Joe Beimel 6, Brian Boehringer 3, Scott Sauerbeck 3
Attendance - 14854
Game Time - 2:18
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Rick Reed, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Jeff Nelson