Series: Game 1 of 3

Cincinnati leads 1-0 (as of 9/24)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 24
Cincinnati 1Final
Chicago 0
Game 2: Wednesday, September 25
Cincinnati 8Final
Chicago 2
Game 3: Thursday, September 26
Cincinnati 1Final
Chicago 0

Reds 1

(76-81, 38-38 away)

Cubs 0

(65-92, 34-42 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 24, 2002

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 100000000 1 - -
    CHC 000000000 0 - -

    W: J. Haynes (15-9)

    L: K. Wood (11-11)

    S: S. Williamson (7)

    Wood once again a hard-luck loser

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Sammy Sosa insists he wasn't pressing. His swing said maybe he was.

    Sammy Sosa

    ''In that situation, there is no pressure,'' Sosa said Tuesday night when the Cincinnati Reds kept his chase of 500 homers on hold while beating the Chicago Cubs 1-0.

    Sosa finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts -- two against starter Jimmy Haynes -- and a weak popup, leaving him at 498 home runs with five games left.

    ''They pitched me good. I got to be ready to go tomorrow. If it happens this year, great. If it happens next year. ...''

    Haynes (15-9) allowed just three hits in six strong innings.

    ''I just tried to keep my pitches down and make Sammy chase them,'' Haynes said.'' I wasn't even thinking about if he was swinging for the fences every time.''

    Aaron Boone homered in the first inning off Kerry Wood (11-11), who entered the game 7-1 lifetime against the Reds.

    ''Any time Kerry's out there you have your work cut out because he can dominate,'' Boone said. ''Any time you can win a one-run game with pitching, that's a good thing.''

    Sosa's bid to become the 18th major leaguer with 500 homers can wait until next season. But he needs two more this year to become the first player in major league history to have five 50-homer seasons.

    Flashbulbs popped all over the park each time Sosa took a swing on a chilly 58-degree night before a crowd of 28,919, small by Wrigley Field standards.

    ''Hopefully I can do it this week at home and make everybody here happy the last week of the season,'' Sosa said before the game. ''Hopefully it can be over as soon as possible.''

    Haynes, 12-4 over his last 24 starts, walked five and struck out seven, leaving after throwing 113 pitches. John Riedling pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth.

    Scott Williamson pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

    Boone sent his 26th homer far over the fence in left and Haynes had the cushion he needed. The Cubs have struggled to score runs for Wood all season -- in his 11 losses, they have managed just 21.

    Wood gave up just six hits, walked two and fanned eight in seven.

    ''I feel like I'm throwing it a lot better than 11-11,'' Wood said. ''Every year there is some guy with bad luck and it doesn't work out.''

    Game notes

    Not only have the Cubs not scored any runs for him, but in seven of Wood's 10 no-decisions this season, he left the game with the lead. ... Boone is the only Reds player to appear in all 157 games this season. ... Barry Larkin, who entered the game in a 4-for-38 slump (.105) had a double and single in three trips before leaving early. ... Reds C Jason LaRue had successful hernia surgery Tuesday and should be able to start working out in eight weeks. He is expected to fully recover by spring training. ... Cubs OF Moises Alou left the game in the second inning with a sore calf.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press