Tampa Bay (22-35) at Chicago (31-26)

  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Thu Jun 5, 2003
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Beleaguered Sammy Sosa will try and help the Chicago Cubs beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the decisive game of their interleague series at Wrigley Field.

Major league baseball confiscated 76 of Sosa’s bats and tested them after the slugger was found to have used a corked bat during Wednesday’s series opener.

However, the confiscated bats were found to be legal.

“The bats were clean and had no foreign substances in them,” said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office. “That is consistent with Sammy’s explanation of the incident last night.”

Sosa, who could face a suspension of up to 10 games, went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts during Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

Most of the 33,317 in attendance on Wednesday applauded him as he sprinted to right field. They also gave him a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first. Only a few boos could be heard.

“They know everything I say after the accident happened was right. They understand,” Sosa said.

Regardless of what bat he’s been using, Sosa hasn’t been hitting much lately since coming off the disabled list. He is 3-for-20 in five games and has struck out 11 times.

“I’m going to hit, there’s no question about it,” Sosa said, adding his concentration is not affected by possibility of a suspension.

“Whatever they decide to do, I have to deal with it,” he said.

Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline, is expected to arrive in Chicago by Thursday morning and will conduct interviews at the ballpark

Tampa Bay snapped a three-game losing streak with Wednesday’s victory. The Devil Rays had lost 10 of their previous 13.

STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 11 GB, AL East. Cubs - 1st place (tied), NL Central.

DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Dewon Brazelton (1-4, 5.86 ERA). The right-hander allowed four runs over six innings in an 8-6 win over Anaheim on Saturday, his first career victory. He has allowed less than four runs just once in his six starts this season. He has never faced the Cubs.

CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Clement (2-6, 4.99 ERA). Clement has not won since April 18 and has had just one quality start over the last month. The right-hander was roughed up for seven runs over five innings in a May 27 loss to Pittsburgh. This will be Clement’s first appearance against the Devil Rays.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .336 avg. and 32 RBIs; Aubrey Huff, 14 HRs and 36 runs; Carl Crawford, 15 SBs. Cubs - Corey Patterson, .318 avg., 11 HRs, 42 RBIs, 35 runs and 10 SBs.

INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Devil Rays - 1-1; Cubs - 1-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - Tampa Bay released INF Damion Easley after the 33-year-old batted just .187 with a homer and seven RBIs in 36 games. Easley signed with Tampa Bay on April 2 after being released by Detroit on March 28. … Tampa Bay called up INF Jason Smith from Triple-A Durham. … 1B Travis Lee is 7-for-26 with seven RBIs in his career against RHP Clement. Cubs - 2B Mark Grudzielanek left the team to be present for the birth of his first child. … INF Lenny Harris is one hit shy of 1,000 in his career. … RF Sosa hasn’t homered since May 1.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 10-19 on the road; Cubs - 15-14 at home.

INJURIES: Devil Rays - LHP Joe Kennedy (shoulder), 15-day DL; SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Parris (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Bobby Seay (shoulder), 15-day DL. Cubs - LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL

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Starting Pitchers

D. Brazelton STL vs. M. Clement TOR
1-6 Record 14-12
6.89 ERA 4.11
24 K 171
23 BB 79
1.66 WHIP 1.23