Sosa was 0-for-4 with a walk. Stuck on 498 career homers, he has
just one hit in the past four games, and hasn't homered since Sept.
20 -- a span of 27 plate appearances.
"They pitched me very well. They haven't made any mistakes,''
said Sosa, who also needs two home runs to become the first player
in major league history with five, 50-homer seasons.
"I have two more games to go. I have to go out the last two
games and see what happens.''
Maybe he should borrow Giles' bat.
Giles hit a three-run homer in the fourth and a two-run shot in
the ninth. His five runs scored were the most by a Pirate since
Bobby Bonilla did it against Atlanta on May 20, 1990.
"I'm happy, I get the next two days off now,'' he said.
The victory guaranteed the Pirates will not lose 90 games, and
they celebrated with champagne in the clubhouse. Pittsburgh will
win at least 10 games more than last season, something only five
teams can say.
"I told them bad times don't last, good men do,'' Pittsburgh
manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I told them the next time we pop
the champagne, it'll be for real.''
The Pirates had a season-high 19 hits and have now won four
straight, their longest streak since winning six in a row in April.
Every Pittsburgh starter reached base at least once.
The Cubs have lost five straight and nine of their last 10.
"It's like it's contagious now,'' Chicago starter Pat Mahomes
said. "It's like every game, we're going out there and finding a
way to lose.''
Mahomes (1-1) was rocked for six runs -- five earned -- and seven
hits in just 3 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out only two.
But Chicago's problems went far beyond him. The Cubs committed
four errors as Pittsburgh took an 8-2 lead after just four innings.
They scored all of their runs on RBI singles and managed only two
"It was not a pretty game,'' interim manager Bruce Kimm said.
"We didn't really play a quality major league game.''
Torres (2-1) was the last pitcher to give up a homer to Sosa,
but he obviously learned his lesson against the Cubs slugger. Sosa
hit two weak grounders and struck out swinging before finally
reaching base with a seventh-inning walk.
"That was the plan, keep him in the yard,'' Torres said. "I
don't want to be the one to give up the 500th.''
The rest of the Cubs didn't have any better luck against him,
either. Torres scattered eight hits and three runs over 6 2/3
"Nobody likes to lose like that,'' Sosa said. "Today was
tough. So we just have to get ready for tomorrow. I've got two more
games to go. We'll see what happens.''
The Cubs' four errors were their most in one game since
Sept. 30, 2000, when they also committed four. ... This was Giles'
second two-homer game of the season and the 14th of his career. ...
The Pirates have won their last four games played on Friday.