Sosa reaches 50 homers


Sammy Sosa reached 50 home runs for the third straight season, but the Chicago Cubs lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 7-6 on Fernando Tatis’ two homers.

Sosa joined St. Louis’ Mark McGwire as the only players with 50 homers in three consecutive seasons. McGwire’s string of four straight 50-homer seasons will likely end this season as Big Mac has been limited to 32 homers because of a lingering knee injury.

The win Saturday cut the Cardinals magic number for clinching the NL Central title to three.

Mike Timlin (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Dave Veres got two outs for his 27th save. Braves 12, Diamondbacks 10 In Phoenix, Reggie Sanders homered twice and Rafael Furcal once as Atlanta got power from unexpected sources and held on to beat Arizona.

Sanders, struggling through the worst season of his nine-year career, hit a pair of two-run homers — his ninth and 10th — off Todd Stottlemyre (9-6). Furcal hit a three run shot off reliever Russ Springer in the fifth for his second career homer.

Reds 7, Brewers 3 In Cincinnati, Chris Stynes homered and drove in three runs, and Elmer Dessens survived six shaky innings to win his third straight start.

Stynes hit an RBI double to cap a three-run first inning against Paul Rigdon (3-4) and added a two-run homer in the sixth, his ninth of the season.

Astros 10, Pirates 9, 10 innings In Houston, Julio Lugo singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and Houston handed Pittsburgh its season-high eighth straight loss.

The Pirates, who tied it with three runs in the ninth, fell to 0-6 at Enron Field.

Richard Hidalgo, who hit his 39th homer and drove in four runs, singled off Scott Sauerbeck (5-3) to open the Astros 10th and Chris Truby walked. Mitch Meluskey bunted into a double play, but Tim Bogar walked and Lugo singled to left field.

Dodgers 5, Rockies 4 In Los Angeles, Eric Gagne won his second straight start since being recalled from the minors and Eric Karros drove in two runs.

Gagne (3-6) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings, walking two and striking out none.

Jeff Shaw got three outs for his 25th save in 32 chances.

Julian Tavarez (10-4) was charged with four runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Giants 4, Padres 3, 13 innings In San Diego, Jeff Kent singled in the go ahead run in the 13th inning.

Kent singled off Carlos Almanzar (4-5) to score Marvin Benard from third base and give the Giants their 14th win in 17 games, lowering their magic number for clinching the NL West to eight.