Series: Game 3 of 3

Chi Cubs won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, March 31
Chi Cubs15Final
NY Mets2
Game 2: Wednesday, April 2
Chi Cubs1Final
NY Mets4
Game 3: Thursday, April 3
Chi Cubs6Final
NY Mets3

Cubs 6

(2-1, 2-1 away)

Mets 3

(1-2, 1-2 home)

    1:10 PM ET, April 3, 2003

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 203000010 6 9 0
    NYM 010000002 3 7 0

    W: M. Prior (1-0)

    L: S. Trachsel (0-1)

    Sosa helps deliver victory, but not a homer

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The Sammy Sosa traveling show packed up and left Shea Stadium on Thursday, still waiting for him to hit that elusive 500th home run.

    For Slammin' Sammy, the trip was well worth it: no homers but two victories.

    "I'm not disappointed,'' he said. "We're winning, and I'm contributing.''

    With his mother, his wife, two brothers and other family members and friends in the stands, Sosa drove in three runs with a pair of singles as the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 6-3.

    "The ballclub is winning in a different way, without home runs, and it's great,'' Sosa said.

    Mark Prior pitched six sharp innings, Moises Alou drove in three runs and Mark Grudzielanek scored three times. New manager Dusty Baker's team took two of three, and the Cubs won an opening series for the first time since 1999.

    "Sammy had a big game. He hasn't hit a home run, but he has four or five ribbies, and that's what counts,'' Baker said.

    Sosa finished 3-for-7 with six walks overall in the series. He lined a sharp, two-run single in the first, then came up with the bases loaded and no outs in the third against former teammate Steve Trachsel.

    Given a chance to become the first major leaguer to make his 500th home run a grand slam, Sosa got an infield single -- although replays showed he was tagged by first baseman Jay Bell.

    Sosa batted for the last time in the eighth. After throwing two outside pitches, reliever Scott Strickland went ahead and intentionally walked Sosa, prompting many of the 17,244 fans to boo as they left the park.

    "It's part of the game,'' Sosa said. "I'm at 499. At any minute, at any time, I could hit it.''

    Said Mets manager Art Howe: "He's going to have to get it somewhere else.''

    "I'm not just going to let Sammy add to his numbers against us,'' Howe said.

    Sosa's best shot at reaching the milestone so far came Wednesday night, when he hit a long fly and started his signature home-run hop before the ball was caught on the warning track.

    "Too bad I couldn't do it here,'' Sosa said.

    Now, Sosa takes his quest to become the 18th member of the 500 club to Cincinnati, where he could provide the new Great American Ball Park with its first truly historic moment. Sosa will face Danny Graves and the Reds on Friday night.

    Prior (1-0) gave up four hits and one run while striking out seven. None of the Mets hitters had ever faced him, and the strong, 22-year-old righty showed them why he should be a major force on the mound for a long time.

    Trachsel (0-1) was hit hard, and only the Cubs' poor baserunning prevented them from scoring more.

    Trachsel picked off Corey Patterson and Mark Bellhorn in succession in the second. Sosa was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Alou's two-run double in the third, then Alou was nailed at home when he tagged up on a fly ball.

    "It was kind of a weird game,'' Baker said. "You start wasting those baserunners and it's like, 'Oh no!'''

    Grudzielanek led off the game with a double and singled in the third. His streak of five straight hits to start the season ended when he grounded out the next time up.

    The Mets again played without All-Star catcher Mike Piazza, who served the second game of his four-game suspension. Vance Wilson started in his place and had two hits, including a two-run single in the ninth off Dave Veres.

    Game notes

    The last pitcher to pick off two runners in an inning was Tampa Bay's Joe Kennedy last April 29. The last Mets pitcher to do it was Turk Wendell on May 16, 2000, against Colorado in the 11th inning. ... Trachsel was already a part of home-run history. He gave up Mark McGwire's record 62nd homer in 1998. ... David Cone's comeback will become complete Friday night when he starts for the Mets against Montreal. Now 40, Cone has not pitched in the majors since 2001 with Boston. ... Alou has doubled in each of the Cubs' three games. ... Sosa has not homered in 24 career at-bats against Graves. ... Bell made his first fourth career start at first base. ... The Cubs won two of three at Houston to start the 1999 season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press