Series: Game 3 of 3

Chi Cubs won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, September 26
Chi Cubs
Game 1: Saturday, September 27
Chi Cubs4
Game 2: Saturday, September 27
Chi Cubs7
Game 3: Sunday, September 28
Chi Cubs2

Pirates 3

(75-87, 36-45 away)

Cubs 2

(88-74, 44-37 home)

    2:20 PM ET, September 28, 2003

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

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    PIT 000020100 3 8 0
    CHC 010100000 2 8 0

    W: K. Wells (10-9)

    L: J. Cruz (2-7)

    S: J. Tavarez (11)

    Rookie pitcher gets start in place of Wood

    Associated Press

    CHICAGO (AP) -- For the NL Central champion Chicago Cubs, it was a day to rest, avoid injuries and get in a light tuneup for what's ahead.

    They reached all their objectives Sunday, except for winning their regular-season finale.

    One day after the Cubs clinched their first division title since 1989 with a doubleheader sweep, they were beaten 3-2 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    "It's not a letdown, you got to go out and finish out the season," said Chicago shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who hit his 20th homer.

    Manager Dusty Baker rested Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou and used many of his other regulars just briefly before Tuesday's playoff opener in the Atlanta.

    "Almost everybody got some work in," Baker said.

    "It was a little more relaxing," Gonzalez said. "A good feeling that we were able to play and not have to worry about having to wrap it up.

    "I think everybody was just going to try and use today to get in a little groove and get ready for Atlanta."

    Pittsburgh, wrapping up its 11th straight losing season, broke a 2-2 tie on Jack Wilson's solo homer in the seventh.

    Rookie Sergio Mitre got the start for the Cubs, who would have used Kerry Wood had they not clinched Saturday.

    Wood will start Game 1 against the Braves.

    "It's the Atlanta Braves, man. They've been there 12 years in a row. That's a lot," Baker said. "Right now, the big boys are the Braves and the Giants. The up-and-coming dudes are us and Florida."

    Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek said the experience of winning the division on the final weekend will help beginning Tuesday.

    "Every pitch, every at-bat, everything is going to be a pressure situation," he said. "So this was a good stepping stone for us, to win games when we had to."

    The Cubs finished 88-74 in their first season under Baker after going 67-95 last year.

    "I imagine Cubs memorabilia sales are probably skyrocketing," Baker said of the euphoria surrounding the division title.

    Wilson hit his ninth homer, a solo shot in the seventh off Juan Cruz (2-7).

    "It was a good way to finish the season, pretty nice," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "The record has been disappointing. We had a lot of small victories, baby steps. But we certainly are moving in the right direction."

    The Cubs took a 2-0 lead on solo homers by Gonzalez in the second and Eric Karros in the fourth.

    Mitre threw four shutout innings. Reliever Antonio Alfonseca quickly gave it away in the fifth, yielding a single, walk and tying two-run single to Jason Kendall.

    Kip Wells (10-9) allowed five hits and two runs in six innings and went 5-2 in his final seven starts.

    Julian Tavarez closed for his 11th save.

    Game notes

    Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior will pitch the second and third games against the Braves. Matt Clement would go in Game 4 -- if necessary -- and Wood again in Game 5. ... The Pirates finished 75-87 and were 50-48 from June 14 to the end of the season. ... Actor Jim Belushi led the Wrigley Field grounds crew in the singing during the seventh-inning stretch. ... Former star third baseman Ron Santo had his No. 10 retired before the game. ... The announced crowd of 39,940 gave the Cubs a season attendance figure of 2,962,630 for 80 dates. That's a record for Chicago baseball. The White Sox drew 2,934,154 in 1991 when they opened new Comiskey Park.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press