Cubs 8, Yankees 7
“When you play against the Yankees, whatever you got going, you’ve got to forget it,” Sosa said after Chicago’s 8-7 victory Sunday night.
Sosa, who drew an eight-game suspension Friday for using a corked bat, was allowed to play in the series because he appealed. His hearing is expected within the next couple of days.
He hit an RBI single in the seventh inning to put the Cubs ahead 8-3, drawing a thunderous ovation from the crowd of 39,341 that cheered “Sam-my, Sam-my.” Sosa tipped his helmet while standing on first as the scoreboard showed “2,000th.”
“Everybody was pumped. Beautiful atmosphere,” Sosa said. “It’s something, it doesn’t get any better than that. If you’re not in this game, you’re not in this world.”
Mark Prior, who nearly became a Yankee five years ago, struck out 10 in six innings and Moises Alou and Ramon Martinez homered as the Cubs won two of three in the teams’ first meeting since the 1938 World Series.
The Yankees rallied late, scoring twice in both in the eighth and ninth innings but fell behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in AL East when pinch-runner Charles Gipson was picked off first base by Joe Borowski to end it.
“I was trying to be aggressive, to get to second and score,” Gipson said. “I got out a little too far. He got me in a situation where I was leaning a bit.”
Prior was initially drafted by Yankees out of high school in 1998 as a first-round sandwich pick (43rd overall), but elected to go to college instead of signing.
It turned out to be a wise choice: After transferring from Vanderbilt, the 6-foot-5 right-hander became one of college baseball’s most dominant pitchers at Southern California, prompting the Cubs to take him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 draft.
“Who knows if I’ll ever pitch against them again,” Prior said.
“For me, coming into the game, none of my incentive was what happened out of high school. I really wasn’t thinking a whole lot about that.”
Chicago’s victory finished off the intriguing interleague series that produced a playoff-like atmosphere during a wild weekend at Wrigley Field. Included was the announcement of Sosa’s suspension; Roger Clemens’ failure for a third straight start to get his 300th win in a masterful pitcher’s duel with Kerry Wood; and a violent collision between Wood and Hee Seop Choi that sent the Cubs rookie first baseman to the hospital with a concussion. He was released Sunday.
“This was a memorable three days,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre, whose team won the opener Friday. “It started out all right but the last two games weren’t so good for us.”
Borowski gave up a two-run single to Jorge Posada in the ninth, before finishing for his 11th save.
The Cubs gave Prior an early six-run cushion, driving out Andy Pettitte after 1 2-3 innings.
It was Pettitte’s shortest outing in a non-injury situation since he lasted just 1 1-3 innings against the Orioles on Sept. 29, 2000. The veteran left-hander, who has lost five of his last six decisions, gave up six hits and six runs.
Martinez led off the second with his third homer, Gonzalez doubled in a run to finish Pettitte (5-6) before Patterson greeted Jeff Weaver with an RBI triple to make it 6-0.
But some sloppy Yankees fielding helped the Cubs add a pair in the seventh. After Mark Grudzielanek singled, Gonzalez bunted and Juan Acevedo threw wildly past first. Alfonso Soriano picked up the ball and made a bad throw to second, allowing Grudzielanek to score before Sosa hit an RBI single.
Robin Ventura brought the Yankees closer with a two-run homer off Mike Remlinger in the eighth, making it 8-5. ^Notes: On Sept. 26, 2001, Pettitte left a start against Tampa Bay after facing two batters when he was hit in the elbow by a Ben Grieve line drive. … The Cubs called up David Kelton from Triple-A Iowa to replace Choi, who was put onthe 15-day disabled list.