After a forgettable performance in his first game against his former team, Sammy Sosa continues the pursuit of his 600th career home run as the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs play the middle game of their series on Wednesday.
The Cubs (32-37) beat the Rangers 5-4 in Monday’s series opener, and have won 10 of their last 16 after losing 10 of their previous 12.
Lee, who is second in the NL in batting (.345) and fourth in the league in doubles (25), is 12-for-24 with five doubles in his last seven games.
Lee played one season with Sosa in Chicago (2004), and has become the face of the franchise after Sosa’s departure.
On Tuesday, Sosa failed to join Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays as the only major leaguers with 600 career home runs.
“I don’t worry about that. My main focus is me and the pitcher,” said Sosa, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. “Today is over. I’ll come back tomorrow ready to go again.”
Sosa, who hit 545 homers with the Cubs from 1992-2004, when he was the 1998 NL MVP and a seven-time All-Star, has 11 homers and a team-high 51 RBIs in his first season with the Rangers (26-44).
He has just one home run in his last 21 games, and is 4-for-12 with a double in his career against Wednesday’s starter Jason Marquis (5-3, 3.14 ERA), who is once again seeking his first win in more than a month.
Marquis opened the season 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA in his first seven starts, but has gone just 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in his last seven.
“I think he gets a little stubborn at times and wants to throw the ball harder instead of pitching,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella told the team’s official Web site. “I think he’ll get back on track.”
Marquis was cruising in his last start, tossing a one-hit shutout into the sixth inning, but the game quickly got away from him. The right-hander ended up giving up four runs, two hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings, and did not factor in Chicago’s 5-4 win.
In his only career start against the Rangers, Marquis allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 9-3 victory for Atlanta on June 9, 2002.
Texas counters with Kameron Loe (2-6, 6.56), who tries to carry some momentum from his best start of the season.
Recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma on Thursday as an injury-replacement starter, Loe gave up five hits and stuck out a career-high seven in eight innings of a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh.
The right-hander had gone 0-6 with a 8.57 ERA in his previous nine starts, and was sent to the minors after getting tagged for nine runs in 2 2-3 innings in an 11-4 loss to Detroit on June 7.
Loe, who has never faced the Cubs, now tries to end his struggles at Rangers Ballpark, where he is just 1-4 with a 7.17 ERA in seven starts.
The Rangers have lost 12 of their last 17 home games, and own the worst overall record in the majors.