Injuries: AL | NL
  Weekly Lineup
  Message Board
  Minor Leagues
  MLB Stat Search


Sport Sections
  Saturday, Jul. 15 7:05pm ET
Joe who? Sosa continues HR binge

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Sammy Sosa plays baseball like it's the only thing on his mind.

Sosa tied Joe DiMaggio for 50th place on the career home run list, hitting No. 361 as the Chicago Cubs beat the Minnesota Twins 8-4 Saturday night.

Sammy Sosa

"That's the guy whose girlfriend was Marilyn Monroe?" asked Sosa, when told he tied the Yankee Clipper for homers.

Sosa connected in the second inning against Joe Mays for his 25th home run of the season. He homered for the second straight day, and has four in eight games.

"I feel like I'm getting in a groove," said Sosa, who continues to rebound from a period filled with trade rumors.

"I think it's only human to mentally think about that type of situation. No matter how hard you try to keep it out of your mind you get distracted."

Now that he is back on track, his next targets on the career home run list are Ralph Kiner (369) and Gil Hodges (370).

"I'm not thinking about that kind of stuff right now," Sosa said. "It's good to be there and be compared to those guys.

"Right now I just want to be happy. I'm feeling great."

The Metrodome crowd was also happy and feeling great. Sosa's presence boosted the attendance to 36,688, the Twins' largest at home since opening day.

"That's awesome, good for him," Mark Grace said of his teammate's accomplishment. "I've seen just about all of them."

"It's nice to say that you've played with a guy like that," Cubs starter Kevin Tapani said.

Tapani (6-7) gave up 12 hits and four runs in eight innings, but struck out nine and walked none.

"When Tapani got in the situation with men in scoring position, he stepped it up a notch," said Twins coach Ron Gardenhire, who filled in for manager Tom Kelly for the third straight game.

Kelly is in Fort Myers, Fla., with his father Joe Kelly, who is recovering from a heart bypass operation.

The Cubs won two of three at the Metrodome after taking two of three against the White Sox. The Cubs have won consecutive series for the first time this season.

Matt Lawton went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBI for Minnesota, which lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Tapani, who was with Minnesota from 1989-95, made his third career start against the Twins and first at the Metrodome since 1996, when he pitched for the White Sox.

Tapani pitched at least six innings for the 17th time in 20 starts.

Minnesota took a 1-0 lead on Lawton's RBI single in the first inning.

Sosa led off the second with a 417-foot shot off Mays (4-11).

"I threw a ball down in the zone and he went down and got it," Mays said. "I tip my hat to him."

Henry Rodriguez followed Sosa's homer with a triple that center fielder Jacque Jones lost in the white Metrodome roof. Two outs later, Willie Greene hit an RBI single to make it 2-1.

Ricky Gutierrez, Grace and Sosa hit consecutive one-out singles to load the bases in the third inning. Rodriguez then hit a check-swing double off first baseman Ron Coomer's glove to score two runs.

"Let's write that one off," Gardenhire said. "It was a very ugly baseball game."

Coomer, who hit an RBI double in the sixth, left in the eighth because of a strained left shoulder. He injured the shoulder making a tag in the top of the inning.

"He jammed his shoulder on a play at first base," Gardenhire said. "We have to check him out in the morning."

Grace hit an RBI double in the fourth inning to make it 5-1.

Jones lost another flyball in the sixth inning, resulting in Greene's leadoff triple. Brant Brown followed with an RBI single and Eric Young hit a run-scoring double to make it 7-1.

Jeff Reed hit an RBI double in the seventh off Johan Santana to make it 8-2.

Lawton, who tied his career high with four hits, hit a two-run homer off Tapani in the eighth to make it 8-4.

Game notes
Sosa has hit 332 homers for the Cubs. His other 29 came with the White Sox. ... Sosa has an eight-game hitting streak. ... Tapani, 2-0 against Minnesota, is 46-30 in 92 games at the Metrodome. ... Rodriguez is 7-for-14 over four games, with two homers and 10 RBI. ... Lawton, who has four hits in a game nine times, has played in all 83 games this season and started all but one. He has 33 multihit games.


Baseball Scoreboard

Chicago Cubs Clubhouse

Minnesota Clubhouse

Cleveland 6
Pittsburgh 4

Boston 6
NY Mets 4

Detroit 11
Houston 6

Atlanta 7
Baltimore 3

Oakland 6
San Francisco 2

Philadelphia 7
Toronto 3

Texas 6
Arizona 5

Anaheim 6
Los Angeles 2

Montreal 4
Tampa Bay 1

Florida 0
NY Yankees 0

Chi. White Sox 15
St. Louis 7

Chicago Cubs 8
Minnesota 4

Kansas City 7
Milwaukee 4

San Diego 4
Seattle 1

Cincinnati 7
Colorado 4