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Sosa, Alou homer to win game in ninth

4/16/2004

CHICAGO (AP) -- Wacky, weird things usually happen when the wind
blows out at Wrigley Field, and this game was no exception.

Both managers were ejected, Sammy Sosa homered to tie the game
in the ninth and Moises Alou immediately followed with a
game-winning shot to give the Chicago Cubs a wild 11-10 victory
over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.

The teams also combined for eight home runs -- including one by
Ken Griffey Jr. so pretty even he had to pause to admire it -- and
an umpire left early with a case of food poisoning.

"That was one of the weirdest, coolest, craziest games that
I've ever been a part of, I'll tell you that," Sean Casey said.
"That was an unbelievably weird game."

Yes it was, right down to the very end. With the Cubs trailing
10-9, Sosa led off the bottom of the ninth with a homer to
right-center off Reds closer Danny Graves. It was Sosa's 512th home
run for the Cubs, tying Hall of Famer Ernie Banks for the club
record.

Alou gave Sosa a high-five when Sosa crossed home plate. Seconds
later, it was Alou's turn to celebrate.

Alou sent a 1-0 pitch from Graves (0-1) over the wall in
left-center to end it. Alou knew his second home run of the day was
gone as soon as it left his bat, throwing his left arm into the air
as the Cubs spilled out of the dugout. His teammates were waiting
to greet him at home, and they turned the plate into a mini mosh
pit, bopping up and down.

Alou was 4-for-5 with three RBI. Aramis Ramirez homered for a
third straight day and finished with five RBI, one shy of his
career high.

"They kept scoring, we kept coming back. They kept scoring, we
kept coming back. To finally win, that was awesome," Alou said, a
wide grin on his face. "I don't really show too many emotions, but
I just couldn't control it."

With the wind blowing out at 13 mph on another unseasonably warm
day, it was a given things were going to be leaving the ballpark.

But it's usually home runs, not managers.

Reds skipper Dave Miley was the first to go, getting tossed in
the fourth inning for arguing a called strike on Sean Casey. Then
in the seventh, it was Cubs manager Dusty Baker's turn.

Shortstop Ramon Martinez and left-hander Kent Mercker were
brought in as a double switch in the top of the inning. Mercker was
supposed to bat in the eighth spot, with Martinez hitting ninth --
but crew chief Mike Reilly said home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor was
never told.

"It's the responsibility of the team making the switch to
inform the home plate umpire, otherwise, they go in the batting
order like they would appear," Reilly said, adding that most
managers will go out to the umpire to tell him of the change.
"C.B. Bucknor was never informed."

Baker said he tried to get Bucknor's attention, whistling and
wiggling his fingers in a switching motion. But Bucknor never
turned around.

When Martinez led off the bottom of the inning with a double,
Reds bench coach Jerry Narron asked Bucknor if there'd been a
lineup switch. Bucknor said no, and Martinez was called out because
the Cubs had batted out of order.

"We saw that Martinez was in the game, but the home plate
umpire never motioned to us," Narron said.

Baker sprinted out to the mound with his lineup card and argued,
but to no avail. When Baker was told the call stood, he got irate.
Yelling and screaming, he tossed the lineup card on the ground, and
Bucknor ejected him. Then Baker threw his hat on the ground.

He walked away from the umpires but then went back, tossing his
hat again and gesturing wildly. A tennis ball came flying out of
the stands, and the crowd chanted "Dus-ty! Dus-ty!"

Baker finally stomped back to the dugout, kicking a bat cloth
and then a heavy warmup bat. When the bat didn't travel very far,
Baker kicked it again before heading down the dugout steps.

"I haven't been that mad in, WHOO!" Baker said. "I'm not
proud of it. I called my wife and asked if my son saw it. She said
he was in the bath tub. I'm glad he didn't see it. I hope he
doesn't see the replay."

The episode definitely got the Cubs' attention.

"I've never seen him like that before," Sosa said of Baker.
"That was good motivation for us. When you see your manager go
out, ready to fight, if you're sleeping, you wake up."

The Cubs pulled within 9-7 on Ramirez's two-run double in the
seventh. Wily Mo Pena gave the Reds' some breathing room with a
solo home run off Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth. But the Cubs came
right back with Todd Hollandsworth's pinch-hit, two-run homer that
cut Cincinnati's lead to 10-9.

Joe Borowski (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth, and then Sosa and
Alou went put on their home run show.

"I'm just so happy we won this game," Baker said. "I'd have
felt terrible if we'd lost. I've have been sick all night."

Game notes
Alou and Ramirez homered back-to-back in the third inning,
the second time this week they've done that. ... Hollandsworth has
three hits this year, all home runs. ... Graves' blown save was his
first in five chances this year. ... The Cubs have had 26
extra-base hits in their last three games.