Sosa, Alou spark Cubs to 15-run output


ATLANTA (AP) -- Even after another big game with the bats, Sammy
Sosa and the Chicago Cubs insisted reliever Dave Veres made the biggest difference.

Sosa homered and drove in four runs, Moises Alou had four hits and five RBI and the Cubs again broke loose, routing the Braves
15-6 Monday night.

Tom Goodwin matched a career high with five hits and scored four
times and Alex Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs. The Cubs
finished with a season-high 21 hits.

On Sunday, the Cubs had 20 hits in a 16-2 romp over the Florida
Marlins. Sosa and Gonzalez both homered in that win, which came
after Chicago scored only three runs in its previous three games.

Yet it was Veres who gave the Cubs a chance.

Veres (1-1) took over for starter Shawn Estes in the fourth
inning with the bases loaded and none out and got out of the jam,
keeping the Cubs within a run at 5-4. He struck out Marcus Giles,
got Gary Sheffield on a popup and retired Chipper Jones on a
bouncer to first.

"That was everything," Sosa said. "That was the ballgame."

"That's a tough lineup and he came in with the bases loaded and
came through without giving up anything," he said.

Veres kept the Braves off-balance with his split-fingered

"I wasn't trying to do too much. I just wanted to have some
damage control, keep them from having a big inning," Veres said.
"That's my best pitch and it's nice to know there's a catcher like
Damian (Miller) who isn't afraid to call for it," he said.

Sosa homered for the 10th time since July 1 as the Cubs won
their third in a row. They ended the Braves' five-game winning
streak and handed Atlanta only its second loss in 15 games.

Javy Lopez hit two home runs for the Braves. Andruw Jones and
Marcus Giles also connected.

Chicago's first four batters -- Goodwin, Mark Grudzielanek, Sosa
and Alou -- were 16-for-22, scored 13 runs and knocked in 10 runs.

"Nobody ever wants to be a part of something like that," said
losing pitcher Shane Reynolds (7-5). "It was just one of those

Grudzielanek went 4-for-6 and also scored four runs. Sosa was
3-for-4 with a pair of walks.

Chicago trailed 5-4 when Alou singled leading off the fifth and
Gonzalez hit a one-out homer, giving the Cubs the lead for good and
finishing Reynolds.

Sosa drove in Chicago's first four runs with a three-run homer --
his 20th -- in the first and an RBI single in the second, giving the
Cubs a 4-0 lead.

"We just couldn't hold them tonight," Braves manager Bobby Cox
said. "They were hitting them hard, hitting them soft, hitting
them every which way."

Alou had an RBI double in the fifth, a two-run single in the
sixth and a two-run double in the eighth.

Lopez has 26 home runs. Andruw Jones hit his 25th.

Game notes
Sosa's home run was the 519th of his career, two shy of the
521 hit by Willie McCovey and Ted Williams, who are tied for the
12th highest total in major league history. ... Braves 1B Julio
Franco was 7-for-9 (.778) vs. Estes, but went 0-for-2 against the
lefty. ... Estes hasn't won since June 10 when he beat the Orioles
4-0. He's 0-3 with four no-decisions since.