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Grand encore for Sosa

How many home runs would Sammy Sosa hit if he played half his games at Coors Field? Does 80 sound right?

"I don't know," Sosa replied. "Right now I belong to Chicago. But imagine ..."

It's easy to imagine after Sosa's hitting display over the weekend. The day after he homered three times and drove in nine runs, Sosa hit a grand slam and an RBI double to lead the Cubs to a 12-9 victory Sunday over the Rockies.

By driving in 14 runs in two consecutive games, Sosa set a National League record. San Diego's Nate Colbert and St. Louis' Mark Whiten held the old mark of 13. The Yankees' Tony Lazzeri set the big-league record of 15 in 1936.

"I guess I'm one of those guys," Sosa said.

The Cubs needed all of Sosa's might to overcome another frightening performance by Antonio Alfonseca, who could be bumped out of his closer's role this week and replaced by Tom Gordon. In his last six appearances, Alfonseca has given up 11 earned runs on 13 hits and seven walks.

"For now I'm staying status quo," Cubs manager Bruce Kimm said of demoting Alfonseca. "I'm going to leave it at that."

Kimm has an easier decision when it comes to his starting rotation. Steve Smyth, making his second big-league appearance, showed he deserves to stay.

After giving up three runs in the second inning, the 24-year-old lefty fired four shutout frames to earn his first victory.

The Cubs got sensational starting pitching all weekend, even better considering the thin air at Coors Field.

Carlos Zambrano threw gave up one run in seven inningsFriday, followed by Mark Prior's one-run, six-inning gem Saturday. The three rookies combined for a three-day ERA of 2.37.

Corey Patterson, who turns 23 on Tuesday, also had a historic Sunday.

He enjoyed his first multi-homer game, taking Denny Stark deep in the second and sixth innings.

Patterson was down 0-2 in the count when he ripped a changeup for his first homer.

"With two strikes, I was thinking, 'Nice and easy up the middle,'" he said. "He got it a little up in the zone and I put a good swing on it."

The Cubs also got key contributions from Bill Mueller, who reached base four times, and Joe Girardi, who hit his first homer of the season to go along with two singles.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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