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Cubs finish 3-4 during Sosa suspension

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Sean Casey kept going all the way to second,
keeping his jubilation in check until the moment he touched base.

Then, he turned toward the dugout and punched the air. The
majors' best late-night team had done it again.

Casey's two-out RBI double in the 10th inning gave the
Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 victory Tuesday night in the Chicago Cubs'
final game without Sammy Sosa.

The Reds lead the majors with 18 wins in their last at-bat --
more than half their total of 35. They've gotten nine game-ending
hits from eight players, including two in a row now by Casey.

Third baseman Aaron Boone jumped into his arms as teammates
mobbed him at second base for their customary group hop after a
game-ending hit.

"I probably could've carried a truck right there, my adrenaline
was going so much," Casey said.

It was a dramatic turnaround for Casey, who struck out in his
first three at-bats on a total of nine pitches. He also flied out,
leaving him in an 8-for-42 rut heading into the 10th.

"It was a long night," Casey said. "That's why it was nice to
come up in the 10th with an opportunity to win the game."

Russell Branyan started the rally with a leadoff walk in the
10th from Mike Remlinger (4-1), fouling off four two-strike pitches
to keep the at-bat going. After Barry Larkin's sacrifice, Todd
Wellemeyer relieved and retired Jose Guillen on a fly.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker had a choice at that point -- pitch to
Casey, or walk him and bring up Austin Kearns, who has a nine-game
hitting streak and 57 RBIs.

"Do you face Casey, who is going to make contact, or Kearns,
who is one of the RBI leaders in the league?" Baker said. "You
have to choose between the dagger and the sword, and the dagger got
us."

The Cubs wasted a chance in the ninth, when Alex Gonzalez
reached second on a walk from Scott Williamson (4-2) and a
sacrifice. He roamed too far on Tom Goodwin's soft liner to Larkin
at shortstop and was doubled up.

The Cubs went 3-4 but held onto first place in the NL Central
while Sosa served a seven-game suspension for using a corked bat.
He hit four balls into the upper deck in left field during batting
practice Tuesday, drawing "aahs" and applause from several
hundred fans.

Sosa explained that he used the corked bat in batting practice
to please fans, and mistakenly used it in a game on June 3. It
shattered in his first at-bat, revealing the cork.

Before Tuesday's game, Sosa asked fans to forgive and forget. It
was the last time he planned to talk about the matter that
tarnished his reputation.

Runs were tough to come by Tuesday as Carlos Zambrano and Ryan
Dempster kept the ball down and turned a 1-all tie over to the
bullpens.

Zambrano led off the fifth with his third double of the season
and came around on Corey Patterson's two-out double for a 1-0 lead.
The right-hander gave it right back in the bottom of the inning,
when Juan Castro doubled and came around on Larkin's two-out
single.

Zambrano gave up one run and four hits in eight innings,
striking out seven. The eight innings matched his career high.

"Everything was good today, especially the slider," Zambrano
said. "I had my best stuff."

Dempster has put together two solid starts for the first time
since he was sidelined by an inflamed nerve in his neck. The
right-hander gave up only one unearned run and four hits in 7 1/3
innings of a 2-1 victory at Tampa Bay last Thursday.

Dempster left for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh,
having thrown 114 pitches. He allowed six hits and two walks while
striking out seven.

Game notes
Baker plans to give Patterson a day off Wednesday, letting
Sosa bat in his third spot in the order. Sosa would move back to
cleanup for the final game of the series. ... Sosa is 6-for-24
career with nine strikeouts and no homers against RH Jimmy Haynes,
who will start for the Reds. ... In two starts against the Cubs
this season, Haynes is 0-2 with a 15.58 ERA. He gave up a
career-high 10 runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 16-3 loss at Wrigley
Field on April 17. ... CF Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the Reds
lineup with a tired right leg. ... Manager Bob Boone was ejected
after the ninth by plate umpire Joe West, who fined Castro for
throwing his helmet after making the final out of the inning. Boone
disagreed with the fine and argued with West. Bench coach Ray
Knight took over.