"I've seen a lot of balls come off that bat and go very far,"
Not Saturday night, they didn't.
Sosa went 0-for-4 against the Milwaukee Brewers and stranded
seven runners as the Cubs lost their ninth straight, 3-1 before the
season's second sellout at Miller Park.
The Brewers got Sosa out every way imaginable.
Jose Cabrera, who pitched five scoreless innings in his second
career start, struck out Sosa in the first and got him on a flyball
in the fifth.
"Cabrera went right at him with inside stuff. Vizcaino came in
and threw some nasty sliders, and DeJean threw a 3-0 sinker,"
Young said admiringly. "We did good."
Milwaukee manager Jerry Royster was waiting for the Brewers luck
to run out.
"Right now Sammy's not swinging like Sammy. (But) I don't ever
like facing Sammy under any circumstances," Royster said. "We've
done a good job so far. But that's never a good sight."
DeJean, who had to pitch two innings for the save because
Vizcaino threw 22 pitches the night before, called it dumb luck
that he was able to get Sosa out.
"Luckily tonight I pitched him so bad that he probably got a
little anxious and swung at a pitch that he normally wouldn't swing
at," DeJean said.
Chicago manager Don Baylor, whose team is mired in its first
nine-game skid since July 24-Aug. 1, 1997, said Sosa is trying too
hard to carry the Cubs out of their doldrums.
"You count on him coming up with the big hit and the big RBI
night after night," Baylor said. "Now he's feeling the pressure
that he has to do it himself and he's swinging at pitches he'd
Cubs hitting coach Jeff Pentland said nobody's panicking over
"I don't worry too much about Sammy. He seems to come out of it
himself. He battles his way through these things," Pentland said.
Sosa wasn't alone, either: the Cubs were 0-for-12 with runners
in scoring position and they stranded 12 runners.
DeJean got his eighth save in nine chances by striking out Fred
McGriff on a 3-2 splitter with the tying run at second.
Young, who turned 35 Saturday, had just visited him on the
mound. "I told him it's time to go celebrate my birthday."
And yet another victory over his former team, which is 0-5
against Milwaukee this month.
Cabrera (2-4), making his second straight start in place of
injured Nick Neugebauer, allowed four hits, walked two and struck
out four. He stranded runners in each inning he worked.
Jon Lieber (3-3), allowed three runs, one earned, and eight hits
in six innings for his second loss to Milwaukee in a week.
McGriff singled and scored on an RBI double by pinch-hitter
Roosevelt Brown that made it 3-1 in the eighth.
Brewers shortstop Jose Hernandez was struck on his right thumb
by a foul ball while on deck in the fourth inning and left the
game. Although X-rays were negative, he's day-to-day.
RHP Mark Prior, 21, will make his highly anticipated debut
with the Cubs next Wednesday at Wrigley Field against Pittsburgh
after only three starts at Triple-A. Prior, the second overall
selection in the 2001 draft and considered by some the best college
pitcher ever during his career at Southern California, was 5-2 with
a 2.29 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A. ... LHP Valerio De Los Santos
says he's 27 years old, not 26 as the Brewers media guide says or
29 as Dominican Republic officials insist. De Los Santos' age came
into question while he was stuck in his native Dominican Republic
from the end of spring training until about two weeks ago because
of problems with his work visa.