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Wood once again a hard-luck loser

9/25/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- Sammy Sosa insists he wasn't pressing. His swing
said maybe he was.

''In that situation, there is no pressure,'' Sosa said Tuesday
night when the Cincinnati Reds kept his chase of 500 homers on hold
while beating the Chicago Cubs 1-0.

Sosa finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts -- two against
starter Jimmy Haynes -- and a weak popup, leaving him at 498 home
runs with five games left.

''They pitched me good. I got to be ready to go tomorrow. If it
happens this year, great. If it happens next year. ...''

Haynes (15-9) allowed just three hits in six strong innings.

''I just tried to keep my pitches down and make Sammy chase
them,'' Haynes said.'' I wasn't even thinking about if he was
swinging for the fences every time.''

Aaron Boone homered in the first inning off Kerry Wood (11-11),
who entered the game 7-1 lifetime against the Reds.

''Any time Kerry's out there you have your work cut out because
he can dominate,'' Boone said. ''Any time you can win a one-run
game with pitching, that's a good thing.''

Sosa's bid to become the 18th major leaguer with 500 homers can
wait until next season. But he needs two more this year to become
the first player in major league history to have five 50-homer
seasons.

Flashbulbs popped all over the park each time Sosa took a swing
on a chilly 58-degree night before a crowd of 28,919, small by
Wrigley Field standards.

''Hopefully I can do it this week at home and make everybody
here happy the last week of the season,'' Sosa said before the
game. ''Hopefully it can be over as soon as possible.''

Haynes, 12-4 over his last 24 starts, walked five and struck out
seven, leaving after throwing 113 pitches. John Riedling pitched a
scoreless seventh and eighth.

Scott Williamson pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Boone sent his 26th homer far over the fence in left and Haynes
had the cushion he needed. The Cubs have struggled to score runs
for Wood all season -- in his 11 losses, they have managed just 21.

Wood gave up just six hits, walked two and fanned eight in
seven.

''I feel like I'm throwing it a lot better than 11-11,'' Wood
said. ''Every year there is some guy with bad luck and it doesn't
work out.''

Game notes
Not only have the Cubs not scored any runs for him, but in
seven of Wood's 10 no-decisions this season, he left the game with
the lead. ... Boone is the only Reds player to appear in all 157
games this season. ... Barry Larkin, who entered the game in a
4-for-38 slump (.105) had a double and single in three trips before
leaving early. ... Reds C Jason LaRue had successful hernia surgery
Tuesday and should be able to start working out in eight weeks. He
is expected to fully recover by spring training. ... Cubs OF Moises
Alou left the game in the second inning with a sore calf.