Miami (73-65) at Chicago (76-63)

Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 32° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Sun Sep 12, 2004
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Derrek Lee helped the Florida Marlins win the NL wild card on their way to a World Series title last season. Now he’s trying to do the same for the Chicago Cubs.

Lee will try to help the Cubs stay atop the wild-card standings when they conclude their four-game series against the Marlins at Wrigley Field.

After the teams split a doubleheader on Friday, Lee hit a three-run double in the eighth inning Saturday to lift the Cubs to a 5-2 victory.

With the win, Chicago remained tied with San Francisco for first place in the wild-card race.

“I got a lot of friends over there. But you got to put it aside and go out there and win games,” Lee said of the Marlins, who fell 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs.

With five teams within 2 1/2 games of each other, Lee knows that the wild-card race should be tight for the remainder of the regular season.

“We were talking about it today. How funny it is. You play 130-some odd games, and you got three teams tied for the wild card,” Lee said. “It’s pretty rare, so it’s going to be fun and will probably come down to the last week. Whoever gets on a roll will probably come out of it.”

Sammy Sosa, dropped to sixth in the batting order for the first time in 10 years, added an RBI single on Saturday. Booed loudly after striking out in his first two at-bats, Sosa said he understood the lineup change.

“I don’t have a problem with that. If that is going to help the ballclub it’s OK with me,” said Sosa who is batting .257 with 29 homers. “It doesn’t matter what I hit. This is not a big concern right now. We’re just trying to win, that’s it.”

The Marlins, who have lost three of four, will turn to A.J. Burnett as they try to close the gap in the playoff race.

Burnett will be trying to win his fourth consecutive start. During his last three outings, the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed five earned runs over 21 1-3 innings.

He surrendered three runs and two hits over 6 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 7-3 win over the New York Mets. Pitching on eight days’ rest, Burnett walked five and hit one batter.

“I felt strong, but I had a lapse toward the end,” Burnett said. “Then I had no idea where the ball was going. I got out of the groove and never found it.”

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Starting Pitchers

A. Burnett Pit vs. G. Rusch Col
7-6 Record 6-2
3.68 ERA 3.47
113 K 90
38 BB 33
1.17 WHIP 1.23