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Sosa, McGriff doom Mesa in ninth

7/22/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs didn't let a blown five-run lead
or a ninth-inning deficit get them down.

Sammy Sosa hit a game-tying single off Jose Mesa in the ninth
inning and Fred McGriff followed with a game-winning double as the
Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 Monday.

The Phillies, who trailed 5-0 after two innings, went ahead on
Bobby Abreu's solo homer off Kyle Farnsworth (3-1). But the Cubs
rallied off Mesa in the bottom half.

"Our guys were very focused against their closer,'' Cubs
manager Bruce Kimm said. "Although we were down a run, there was
no panic in our dugout. Usually when the closer comes in, you don't
win, but today we did.''

All four Cubs who came to the plate in the ninth reached base as
Mesa (3-6) blew a save for the seventh time in 32 chances.

Mark Bellhorn led off with a single, and Chris Stynes bunted,
reaching on a throwing error by first baseman Travis Lee.

Sosa, who had hit his 30th homer in the second inning, followed
with an RBI single to tie it. McGriff then won it with a drive to
right-center.

"In the big leagues, you're supposed to win ballgames like
this, but we almost let this one slip away,'' McGriff said. "It
feels as good as ever to help your team win a ballgame.''

McGriff said he was just trying to pull the ball to the right
side to advance Stynes. Instead he lined it into the gap.

"I thought we battled ... but came up short,'' Philadelphia
manager Larry Bowa said.

Abreu and Pat Burrell each went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs.
Burrell's two-run, two-out double off Joe Borowski in the seventh
had tied the game at 5.

Phillies starter Robert Person allowed five runs and four hits
in just two innings, but Joe Roa followed with 3 2-3 innings of
scoreless relief.

After the game and an examination by the Phillies training
staff, the team announced Person would return to Philadelphia for
an MRI on his right shoulder and elbow. The exact nature of the
injury was not disclosed.

"He didn't complain once,'' said Bowa, who added he lifted the
starter because of his performance.

Cubs starter Kerry Wood, winless since July 3, gave up three
runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out six.

"The worst thing I feel about today is (Wood) didn't get a
win,'' Kimm said.

McGriff hit an RBI grounder in the first, and Chicago increased
the lead to five runs in the second when Stynes hit a two-run
double and Sosa hit a two-run homer, reaching 30 homers for the
ninth time.

Sosa, 8-for-40 since the All-Star break, had been hitless in 11
at-bats and hadn't homered since July 14 against Florida's Vladimir
Nunez.

Philadelphia's first five batters reached in the sixth, when
Abreu hit a two-run double and scored on Burrell's single.

Game notes
Bellhorn went 3-for-4 with a walk, and is 28-for-69 (.406)
over his last 20 games. ... Chicago OF Moises Alou missed the game,
a day after being hit on the right forearm by Houston pitcher
Brandon Puffer. X-rays were negative. ... Burrell has 19 hits in
his last 46 at-bats (.413). ... Brett Myers, a 21-year-old who is
Philadelphia's top pitching prospect, arrived Monday and is
scheduled to make his major league debut Wednesday.