Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 9/21)

Game 1: Friday, September 20
Chicago 4Final
Pittsburgh 5
Game 2: Saturday, September 21
Chicago 4Final
Pittsburgh 2
Game 3: Sunday, September 22
Chicago 4Final
Pittsburgh 5

Cubs 4

(65-90, 31-49 away)

Pirates 2

(68-87, 35-42 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 21, 2002

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 000100300 4 - -
    PIT 100001000 2 - -

    W: K. Farnsworth (4-6)

    L: S. Sauerbeck (4-4)

    S: J. Cruz (1)

    Sosa narrowly misses 499th career homer

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Sammy Sosa is eager to get his 500th career homer out of the way so he doesn't have to spend an entire winter waiting for it.

    Sammy Sosa

    Not so eager, though, that he doesn't take satisfaction in a game-winning hit, even if it doesn't leave the park.

    Sosa barely missed his 499th career homer with a go-ahead, two-run single off the right-field wall, and the Chicago Cubs rallied with three runs in the seventh to beat Pittsburgh 4-2 Saturday night.

    Sosa also singled and scored in the fourth inning and walked twice. He is two homers short of becoming the 18th player to hit 500 homers and the first to hit 50 or more in five consecutive seasons.

    "No question about it,'' Sosa said of wanting to get his 500th as soon as possible. "I'm going up there and trying to be patient and trying to find a pitch to hit. Hopefully I can find a good pitch to hit (Sunday), maybe get one more and then let's go to Chicago.''

    Sosa seemed to have a possible home run target in starter Kip Wells, who allowed Barry Bonds' 600th career homer earlier this season, one of 20 he has surrendered this year.

    But Wells left after pinch-hitter Corey Patterson's two-out double with Pittsburgh up 2-1 in the seventh, the 28th time in 32 starts he has allowed three runs or fewer. The Cubs, who ended a four-game losing streak, did their damage against the bullpen to avoid going a season-low 27 games under .500.

    Scott Sauerbeck (4-4) gave up Mark Bellhorn's single, advancing Patterson to third before Al Reyes came in to hit pinch-hitter Angel Echevarria with a pitch, loading the bases. With Sosa up, Reyes' wild pitch scored Patterson with the tying run.

    Sosa, who homered Friday night, then hit his long drive to right, and he hesitated momentarily to go into his familiar home-run hop. But the ball struck the 21-foot wall about a foot or so below the right-field seats, and his delayed start forced him to stop at first with a 350-foot single.

    "It was pretty close,'' said Sosa, who also singled and scored on Kevin Orie's single in the fourth. "I hit it well. It was a good at-bat. He pitched me very well and that was a tough pitch to hit on the outside corner.''

    Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon wanted to avoid using Sauerbeck, who made his 75th appearance. But he changed his mind when he thought the left-hander could get Bellhorn to end the inning.

    "I'm kind of kicking myself,'' McClendon said. "It just didn't work out. At some point, we've got to give those guys a rest down there.''

    Kyle Farnsworth (4-6) struck out the only two batters he faced in relief of Pat Mahomes in the sixth for the victory. Mahomes made his first start since June 4, 2001, with Texas, giving up two runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.

    Aramis Ramirez's RBI single, only his second hit in 32 at-bats, and Kevin Young's leadoff homer in the sixth put the Pirates up 2-1 against Mahomes.

    Will Cunnane followed Farnsworth to get the next five outs, and Joe Borowski struck out Pokey Reese with one on to end the eighth -- one of 13 runners the Pirates stranded.

    Juan Cruz, who has a 2-11 record, pitched the ninth for his first save, one night after Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca gave up two runs in the ninth as Pittsburgh rallied to win 5-4. On Thursday, Alfonseca failed to hold a ninth-inning lead at New York.

    Cruz quickly got into trouble when Jack Wilson reached on first baseman Hee Seop Choi's error and Jason Kendall walked. But after a visit to the mound by manager Bruce Kimm, Cruz got the final three outs.

    "I wanted to see the look on his face,'' Kimm said. "I wanted to see if he was in control or if he was in antsy, and he was completely calm. I told him not to worry about the hitter's weaknesses, just throw whatever pitch he was going to throw 100 percent and go after them.''

    Wells struck out six and walked two in 6 2-3 innings, but remained winless in seven starts in PNC Park since beating Montreal on June 26. He is 0-4 over that span and is 4-12 since an 8-2 start.

    "A lot of games down the road I pitch probably will be 1-0 or 2-1 ... and you have to learn to put up zeros,'' Wells said.

    Game notes

    The Pirates had 10 hits. ... Wells hasn't won since Aug. 24 ... The crowd of 33,653 for a Reese bobblehead doll giveaway was the Pirates' largest at home this month. ... The Cubs lead the season series 8-7 with four games remaining. ... Some fans booed when Sosa was intentionally walked in the ninth.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press