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Sexson hit Bank One-record 503-foot HR

4/27/2004

PHOENIX (AP) -- Richie Sexson's awesome power and Randy Johnson's
ageless arm were more than enough to snap the Chicago Cubs'
six-game winning streak.

Sexson hit the longest home run in Bank One Ballpark history and
Johnson struck out 10 on Monday night, leading the Arizona
Diamondbacks to a 9-0 rout.

Sexson's two-run shot off reliever Francis Beltran in the sixth
inning traveled an estimated 503 feet and smacked off his own image
halfway up the giant video screen in center field, smashing several
lights.

"That's the furthest one I've ever hit. I'd be lying if I said
it wasn't," Sexson said. "I've seen Jim Thome hit some balls like
that, but I never have."

It was Sexson's 200th career home run and ninth this season.

"You see things in this game on occasion that you've never seen
before," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "I think Fins (Steve
Finley) said it best, he's never seen a ball get so small so fast.
It seemed like it was accelerating when it hit him in the face out
there on the JumboTron."

Previously, the longest homer at the 7-year-old park was 473
feet by Scott Rolen, then with Philadelphia, against Omar Daal on
April 19, 1999.

"The people here are going to enjoy watching Richie Sexson all
year long," Chicago manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm just glad he's
not in Milwaukee anymore."

The 40-year-old Johnson (2-2), 18 years older than Cubs starter
Carlos Zambrano, improved to 12-0 in 13 career starts against the
Cubs. Johnson struck out seven of nine batters during one stretch,
pitched two-hit ball for seven innings and walked none.

He even had an RBI single as the Diamondbacks won for the fourth
time in five games.

"I'm sure he could have finished that game very easily,"
Brenly said, "but we saved him a few innings there and hopefully
we can tack those on in September."

The Big Unit gave up a single to Zambrano with one out in the
third, then retired 12 straight before Moises Alou singled with one
out in the seventh. The only other Cub to reach base against
Johnson was Derrek Lee, hit by a pitch with two outs in the second.

Seven consecutive Chicago outs were by strikeout, beginning when
Sammy Sosa was caught looking to end the first and ending when
Corey Patterson fanned to end the third.

Randy Choate completed Arizona's second shutout, allowing three
hits in two innings.

The Cubs gave up more runs in one game than they did in their
entire winning streak, when they outscored opponents 39-5.

Zambrano (2-1) was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3
innings.

Arizona third baseman Chad Tracy -- in his fifth major league
game -- was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a double, and made consecutive
standout defensive plays in the sixth. He lunged to his left to
grab Jose Macias' line drive, then tumbled headfirst over the fence
to catch Patterson's foul pop.

"I don't think I've seen any plays like that since I've been
here," Johnson said.

The Diamondbacks broke through in the third when Tracy led off
with a double off the center-field wall, then scored on Robby
Hammock's double just inside the right-field line. With two outs,
Alex Cintron tripled to the wall in left-center, bringing home
Hammock to make it 2-0.

Danny Bautista extended his career-best hitting streak to 18
games with a one-out single in the fourth. He moved to second on
Tracy's groundout. Zambrano intentionally walked Hammock to get to
Johnson, who singled down the right-field line on an 0-2 pitch to
bring home Bautista. Matt Kata added an RBI single to put Arizona
up 4-0.

Game notes
Cubs right-hander Mark Prior will have a bullpen session
Tuesday, then remain in Mesa at the team's spring training facility
for more rehabilitation on his inflamed Achilles' tendon and sore
elbow. ... Bautista earned his first NL player of the week award
after batting .464 (13-for-28) last week with three doubles, three
homers and 10 RBI. ... Kata has a career-best eight-game hitting
streak.