May 17, 2007

Sosa Looks Like '05 Self In Win

Anthony Di Como at, writes about last night's 8 to 1 win over the Cubs:

Finally climbing the mound at 10:17 p.m. ET, Sosa instantly assumed dominance. The hard-throwing right-hander used plenty of power -- and the finesse of his quirky slider -- to carve through Chicago's lineup. Through seven innings he had allowed just one hit, scattering two walks and an error.

He walked a third leading off the eighth, and at 104 pitches, Sosa's night would end there. But the scant remaining crowd appreciated the effort, choreographing Sosa's exit with a standing ovation and a chant of his name.

"You want to finish it with a positive start," said Mets manager Willie Randolph. "I thought he was getting a little tired at the end. It's not just about the pitch count. I thought he was laboring a little bit."

A rarity, considering Sosa labored little all night. Not once did multiple Cubs reach base in an inning, and just twice did anyone reach second on his watch. Joe Smith relieved him in the eighth and allowed that lone run to score -- putting the only blemish on Sosa's line -- but it wasn't enough to spoil the moment.

Perhaps most impressive was the fact that his slider -- not his fastball, a power pitcher's delight -- was the pitch keeping Chicago off-balance.

"It's a weird slider," Lo Duca said. "He can tighten it up a little bit, he can make it go down, he can make it go sideways, too. Then, when he throws his fastball, it looks like it's 100 miles per hour."

The Mets offense, too, rebounded from Tuesday's scant performance, needing just four innings to equal its six hits of a night ago. The biggest of those -- a Damion Easley two-run homer in the fourth -- gave Sosa more than enough cushion to continue his dominance, while the smallest -- a Carlos Gomez bloop in the second -- gave the 21-year-old rookie his first Major League RBI.


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