Cubs win fourth straight


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Not even losing Sammy Sosa to sneeze-induced
back spasms could stop the Chicago Cubs.

Jose Macias hit a tiebreaking home run off David Wells, and
Michael Barrett also connected to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 win over
the San Diego Padres on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

The Cubs won their fourth straight game, moved into a tie with
Houston atop the NL Central and outhit the Padres in their new
ballpark. Chicago hit seven homers in three games at Petco Park,
including impressive shots by Sosa on Friday and Saturday.

Sosa, who has 10 homers this year and is ninth on the career
list with 549, didn't get the chance to go deep again.

He sneezed twice shortly after arriving in the clubhouse before
the game, which brought on back spasms and forced him to grab a
chair to support himself. Sosa spent the afternoon in the trainer's
room receiving treatment.

"It would have been better if I had hit off the wall or we have
a fight or something, but this ... you know what I mean?" a
sheepish Sosa said. "What can you do? Some things in life you
cannot control. This is strange that it happened."

The Cubs are off Monday before opening a homestand Tuesday.

"I don't feel too good," Sosa said. "If I'm ready, I'm going
to play. If I'm not ready, I'm not going to play. Whenever I feel
100 percent, I'll be back.

"Something you never expect to happen, happens. We're only
human. The only thing you can do is just sit back and relax and
wait. You're talking about the back."

And the rest of the Cubs were talking about a 4-2 Southern
California trip. The Cubs also took one of three from NL
West-leading Los Angeles.

"Everybody chipped in," closer Joe Borowski said. "It wasn't
just one person carrying everybody. It just seemed like everybody
stepped up at different times. Really, over the long haul, that's
what you're going to need."

Borowski pitched the ninth for his seventh save, and 21st
straight dating to Aug. 5, breaking Randy Myers' club record set in

Francis Beltran (1-0) earned his first major league win by
pitching 1 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of Glendon Rusch.
Beltran didn't allow a hit, walked two and struck out one. Two
other relievers -- LaTroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth -- combined on
4 1-3 hitless innings for Chicago after Rusch left.

Macias gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead when he hit his first homer of
the season on Wells' first pitch of the fifth. Macias was 3-for-5
and scored twice.

Barrett hit a solo homer -- his fifth -- to left with two outs in
the eighth off Scott Linebrink.

Not only did the Padres have just one homer in the series, by
Ramon Hernandez on Saturday night, but Wells, their stopper, didn't
come through. Wells (2-4) allowed three runs and eight hits in six
innings while striking out two and walking none.

"I made a couple of bad mistakes and that's it," Wells said.
"And usually a good-hitting team will make you pay for that."

The Padres struggled against Rusch, who came in with a 7.36 ERA
and didn't even make it out of the fifth. They scored two runs in
the fourth off him to tie the game, but left the bases loaded when
Wells struck out to end the inning. Jay Payton singled in a run and
the other one scored on Hernandez's bases-loaded groundout.

The Padres loaded the bases for the first time that inning when
Rusch fielded Brian Buchanan's chopper and threw to second, only to
see that neither shortstop Ramon Martinez nor Macias, the second
baseman, were on the bag. Martinez was charged with an error. After
Hernandez's RBI groundout, Khalil Greene was intentionally walked
to load the bases before Wells grounded out.

"It's tough when you're not swinging the bats well," manager
Bruce Bochy said. "You need a big hit, they got the big hit. We
had a tough time the whole series getting that third out, and again
today they clutched up and we had a tough time doing it."

Rusch gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits in 4 2-3
innings. He walked two and struck out two.

Game notes
With Sosa out, Todd Hollandsworth started in right field
for the Cubs. ... The Padres were swept for the first time this
season. ... San Diego was held to six or fewer hits four times
during the 2-4 homestand. ... With the Padres facing a lefty, left
fielder Ryan Klesko didn't start. He pinch-hit for Wells in the
sixth, drawing a walk off Beltran. ... Macias has four straight
multihit games. ... Tom Gordon holds the Cubs' single-season record
for consecutive saves with 19 in 2001.