Cubs within a half-game of second-place Cards


CHICAGO (AP) -- Feeling a bit weary after playing 15 innings,
Sammy Sosa found a way to get some rest.

He hit a two-run homer in the bottom half, sending the Chicago
Cubs to their clubhouse with a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis
Cardinals in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday.

"My goodness. I think it was one of the longest games we've
played," Sosa said after hitting his 32nd home run to end the 4
hour, 47 minute game. It was his ninth career game-winning homer,
seven with the Cubs.

"I was 0-for-5 and I never gave in. I went up there, I got one
pitch to hit and that was everything," Sosa said. "After you play
15 innings, I don't think you have any energy left. But that was a
big one for the team. We played so hard to be where we are."

Sosa's long homer off former teammate Jeff Fassero brought the
Cubs within a half-game of the second-place Cardinals. Houston,
which was tied with St. Louis for first entering play Tuesday,
played a late game at Los Angeles.

Augie Odeja, recalled from the minors Monday, was 0-for-21 with
the Cubs this season when he singled to left off Fassero (1-7) to
start the bottom of the 15th.

One out later, Sosa connected on an 0-2 pitch.

"That's a heartbreaker," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
"There were a lot of heroic moments. We were close to winning a
couple of times, but couldn't pull it off. That's a tough loss."

Fernando Vina doubled to lead off the 14th -- the Cardinals'
first hit since the seventh inning -- and moved to third on a fly
ball before Mark Guthrie (2-3) retired Mike Matheney on a
comebacker to end the threat.

Orlando Palmeiro saved the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth,
leaping into the vines in left field to make a spectacular catch of
Ramon Martinez's two-out drive with the bases loaded.

Jason Simontacchi, who had made 21 relief appearances for the
Cardinals since his last start on June 3, retired the first 12
batters, striking out six. He left after the Cubs benefited from a
controversial call and scored two unearned runs in the fifth to tie
the game.

The Cubs got their first baserunner in the fifth when third base
umpire Bill Hohn ruled that left fielder Albert Pujols didn't hold
Aramis Ramirez's fly ball.

Pujols appeared to catch the ball, but it dropped out of his
glove at the last instant as Ramirez jogged into second on the
two-base error. Replays showed that Pujols squeezed the ball and as
he was trying to switch it to his right hand to throw it back to
the infield, he dropped the ball.

After the game, Hohn said it wasn't a routine play and that the
ball dropped out of Pujols' glove, not his barehand, so it wasn't a
catch. Simontacchi didn't agree.

"No doubt about it, he caught the ball," Simontacchi said.
"It was a bad call, but at the same time I still have to get us
out of the inning and I didn't do that."

La Russa argued to no avail, and it turned into a pivotal call.
Two outs later, Alex Gonzalez doubled for the Cubs' first hit,
scoring Ramirez and making it 2-1, and then Damian Miller had
another double to tie the game.

St. Louis took an early 2-0 lead, scoring in the second on Chris
Widger's RBI single off Ramirez's glove at third and on Jim
Edmonds' 35th homer leading off the fourth.

Game notes
Edmonds' homer was just the seventh Carlos Zambrano allowed
this season. ... St. Louis finished with just five hits. ... It is
the second straight season the Cardinals and Cubs played a
day-night doubleheader. The Cards won both games last season in the
first split twinbill at Wrigley Field since 1931. Tuesday's first
game was the makeup of a May 11 game that was called after four
innings. ... The teams have spent plenty of time at Wrigley the
last two days. Not only did Tuesday's first game last 4 hours, 47
minutes, they waited out a 4:17 rain delay before playing Monday's
opener. ... Chicago's bullpen pitched eight scoreless innings of
one-hit ball. ... It was the third longest game in innings played
for the Cubs. They have also been in 17- and 16-inning games. The
Cardinals played a 20-inning game in April.