The journeyman pitched seven innings of one-hit ball and New York beat the Chicago Cubs 8-1 Wednesday night in a rain-delayed game that didn't end until 12:53 a.m. ET on Thursday -- about 12 hours before the teams were scheduled to play again.
"I felt good," Sosa said through a translator. "It's only three starts. I have to work really hard every day."
Mixing a precise fastball and a tough slider, Sosa (3-0) allowed one run, walked three and struck out five. The right-hander allowed only a single up the middle by Cesar Izturis in the third.
Sosa has allowed nine hits and five runs in 20 innings over his three starts. He has not allowed more than four hits in any start. Sosa, a reclamation project the Mets picked up in the offseason, went 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA at Triple-A New Orleans to start the season.
"He's in a nice little rhythm right now, he's really feeling his pitches," manager Willie Randolph said. "He's in that little zone right now."
Two years ago in Atlanta, Sosa found a similar zone. He went 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 44 games, including 20 starts. The Mets, in need of a solid arm at the back end of their rotation, could really use a similar season from Sosa.
"He's capable of doing it," Randolph said.
The game didn't start until 10:17 p.m., a 3 hour, 7 minute delay because of a steady rain that began in the late afternoon. The skies darkened above the stadium at about 4:00 p.m., and the crew scurried to put the tarp over the infield before the rain started. The rain stopped for good at 9:35, and the tarp was removed to thunderous applause from the thousands of soggy Shea Stadium faithful who stayed to watch the game.
A smattering of fans stayed to the end, and they saw Mets All-Star Jose Reyes leave the game after an eighth-inning single with slight tightness in his left hamstring. Reyes said he was fine afterward and would play on Thursday.
Reyes, who went 2-for-5, said he hurt himself on the first swing of his at-bat in the eighth.
"I felt a little cramp, no big deal," he said. "I've had so many injuries to my hamstring before, I just have to be careful."
Randolph was noncommittal about whether Reyes would play Thursday.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Randolph said.
Easley made Cubs starter Rich Hill pay for a pitch behind him with two down and a runner on in the fourth. One pitch after he had to jump up to avoid a pitch behind his feet, Easley hit his sixth home run, a 415-foot drive that cleared the visiting bullpen in left and made it 4-0.
Hill (4-3) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings in his second straight loss. He walked four -- one intentionally -- and struck out six. The left-hander has lost three of his last four decisions.
"He's walking people. He was not walking people earlier in the year and they are running on him," manager Lou Piniella said. "They are running on first move. We may have to go to a little bit of a slide step. He'll get better."
The Mets stole three bases in the game.
Sosa tired in the eighth and left after walking Izturis to start the inning. Joe Smith replaced Sosa, who got a standing ovation and tipped his cap to the fans as he walked to the dugout.
The Cubs scored their only run in the eighth on a two-out, broken-bat single to right by Cliff Floyd off of Smith.
Gomez, in his second career start, went 2-for-4 with two RBI. He added a run-scoring double in the seventh.
With the bases loaded and one out in the third, Wright lofted a shallow fly ball that second baseman Ryan Theriot caught while backpedaling. Easley smartly tagged and beat Theriot's off-balance throw to make it 2-0.
Wright added a run-scoring double in the seventh and Carlos Delgado had an RBI groundout in the eighth.
Both teams sped through their postgame rituals. One tired looking Met was candid about the late finish, and what it's like to pitch five-plus hours after the scheduled start.
"It's not so nice when it's 12:30, but you got to do what you've got to do," said Billy Wagner, who pitched a scoreless ninth. "You've got to go out and focus, which is tough because usually we're asleep by now. Honestly these are tougher games than normal."
- Cubs 1B Derrek Lee remained in Chicago, missing his third straight game with neck spasms. Piniella said Lee would join the club at Wrigley Field on Friday, when the team hosts the Chicago White Sox. "Chances are better than 50-50 that he'll be ready then," Piniella said.
- The Mets are offering all ticket holders for Wednesday night's game free tickets to one of the three games against the Minnesota Twins, who will be in town June 18-20.