Hidalgo goes deep twice to one-up Sosa


CHICAGO (AP) -- Instead of pouting, Richard Hidalgo took out his
frustrations on the Chicago Cubs.

Hidalgo hit two home runs, and Carlos Hernandez allowed three
hits over seven innings as the Houston Astros beat the Cubs 4-1

The two-homer game came two days after Hidalgo threw a bat bag
and broke a chair in the clubhouse after an argument with manager
Jimy Williams over the outfielder's benching. Williams was in
Florida on Friday for son Shawn's high school graduation.

"He is an emotional player,'' said Astros coach John Tamargo,
who -- along with pitching coach Burt Hooton and third-base coach
Gene Lamont -- filled in for Williams. "He was just a little upset,
but I'm sure they worked things out. Richard played a great game
today. It must have worked him up a little bit.''

Hernandez (5-2) struck out seven and walked a career-high five.
The left-hander was replaced by Octavio Dotel at the start of the
eighth, and Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

"I thought the first two innings, Hernandez was too careful
with (Sammy) Sosa, (Fred) McGriff and (Moises) Alou,'' catcher
Gregg Zaun said. "Then he just started going after people with his
fastball and mixing in a breaking ball. After that, he was in

Hidalgo opened the scoring in the seventh with his ninth homer
of the season, a two-out shot off Cubs starter Jason Bere (1-8)
that landed on Waveland Ave.

"It was one of those pitches that when you let it go, you know.
It was a breaking ball that made him swing and miss the previous
at-bat, but that time I didn't throw it in a location that I
wanted,'' Bere said.

Hidalgo finished a 4-for-4 performance with another two-run
homer off Juan Cruz in the ninth.

"I just try to play my best every time I play, every day that I
go out there,'' Hidalgo said.

Sosa hit his major league-leading 19th homer for Chicago.

Bere allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings. He walked
one and struck out four.

The right-hander was bothered by what he deemed inappropriate
criticism recently.

"I took offense to some things. There was a lot of talk about
me that had nothing to do with pitching in games,'' said Bere, who
has lost a career-high seven straight decisions.

It's the second consecutive tough-luck loss against the Astros
for Bere, who pitched six shutout innings Sunday in Houston before
the bullpen blew a lead.

"He's pitched well twice against a good offensive club and we
haven't hit for him,'' Cubs manager Don Baylor said. "It's tough
when you're 1-8 and don't get any support. I thought he made good
pitches all day.''

Game notes
Chicago Bears first-round pick Marc Columbo sang "Take Me
Out to the Ballgame.'' ... The Cubs are 5-12 against left-handed
starters. ... Cubs second baseman Chris Stynes made a nice 4-3 double
play in the second when he tagged Jeff Bagwell, spun, and threw to
first to get Daryle Ward.