Yankees 5, Cubs 3
“You can’t get anything better,” he said after a 5-3 victory Friday that kept the Yankees perfect at the Chicago Cubs’ picturesque neighborhood park. “It’s like Yankee Stadium. The people are unbelievable. They were all going crazy in the bullpen.”
The portly left-hander pitched 7 2-3 innings in his first Wrigley appearance and doubled for his first hit in three years.
“It’s fun for us,” he said. “You got two teams with a lot of history. Just the scenery, it’s all good. I love it, the more hype the better it is. I heard all the fat jokes, and it’s something I heard all my career.”
Wells, who’s never shy with an opinion on a variety of topics, said earlier this week that Sosa shouldn’t be allowed to play in the series because of the corked bat.
“We knew he was going to play,” Wells said, backing off. “Sammy’s a great guy. I don’t know him real well but pretty good. It makes for a lot of fun with him in the game.”
Sosa went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and made a diving catch in the sixth inning, and still hasn’t homered since May 1, a stretch that included a trip to the disabled list when he missed 17 games. He’s 5-for-28 since returning from the DL.
He brought the crowd to its feet in the sixth with a long drive to right that Raul Mondesi caught in front of the ivy on the warning track.
After the game, Sosa wouldn’t directly address the suspension, which he is appealing, but said he’s handling the difficult times he’s experienced since coming off the disabled list a week ago.
“I have to be happy with myself that I know how to deal with everything. I’m a tough man,” Sosa said. “I’ve got a strong mind and nobody can touch that.”
The Yankees had been to Wrigley on just two previous trips, going a combined 4-0 in the World Series in 1932 and 1938.
The park and the adjacent rooftops were jammed, and there was a loud contingent of New York fans chanting “Let’s Go Yankees!” The crowd was announced at 39,359, the second-largest this season.
“There was a little bit different atmosphere in the stands. I’ve never seen so many opposing fans probably other than the St. Louis Cardinals,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “It was electric.”
And how things have changed since the teams last played.
In that matchup 65 years ago, World Series seats were being sold in sets of three for $19.80. When Roger Clemens goes for his 300th victory Saturday, some seats are going for up to $400 on the resale market.
The Cubs have been back to just one World Series since, losing to the Detroit Tigers in 1945.
The Yankees? They’ve returned 28 times, winning 19.
Sosa was cheered loudly when he ran out to right field, with a few boos heard, too. He’s hoping to have the suspension reduced next week, claiming that he mistakenly used a batting practice bat with cork in it.
Wells (8-2) allowed seven hits, including Ramon Martinez’s two-run homer in the third and Corey Patterson’s solo shot with two outs in the eighth. Mariano Rivera got three outs for his fifth save in six chances, striking out Hee Seop Choi to end the game with runners on second and third.
Giambi hit his 14th homer in the first, a two-run shot off Carlos Zambrano (5-5).
Giambi also enjoyed the experience and knows it will be just as frenetic Saturday, when Roger Clemens is scheduled to try for his 300th win.
“There was a real buzz in the air,” Giambi said. “It was definitely like a playoff atmosphere.”
New York made it 5-0 in the third on Giambi’s sacrifice fly and a two-run, bases-loaded single by Juan Rivera.
Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, who managed the Cubs to a division title in 1989, took out the lineup card before the game. The fans gave Zimmer a rousing reception on his way back to the dugout. “To this day, to me, that year was the biggest thrill I had in baseball. I love the place,” Zimmer said. … Wells doubled over Moises Alou in left in the fourth, chugging into second. It was the seventh hit of his career and first since June 5, 2000, with the Blue Jays against the Braves. … The start of the game was delayed 1 hours, 25minutes by rain.