There's no stopping Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs.
Sosa tied a team record by homering in his fifth consecutive game as the Cubs won their 10th straight, beating the Minnesota Twins 8-1 Monday night.The streak has moved the Cubs into a tie for first in the NL Central with Houston and brought fans around the country onto their band-wagon.
The Metrodome crowd chanted "Sammy, Sammy" when Sosa came to bat, and starting pitcher Mark Clark got a standing ovation from the fans behind the first-base dugout when he left in the ninth inning.
"Everywhere there are Cubbies fans cheering for us and more now that we've won 10 in a row and are in first place," said Jose Hernandez, who homered for the third straight game. "We haven't done that in a long time."
In fact, the Cubs haven't done that since 1970. And they are 14 games over .500 (38-24) for the first time since finishing the 1989 regular season 92-69.
But Chicago has to share the honors of hottest team in the majors with the San Francisco Giants, who also won their 10th straight, beating Seattle 4-3.
"You want to ride this high as long as you can," said Giants starter Danny Darwin, who won for the fifth time in his past six decisions.
The 42-year-old Darwin (6-3) allowed three runs in 61/3 innings against the slumping Mariners, who fell a season-low nine-games below .500 (27-36).
"You catch a hot team and things happen," said Ken Griffey Jr., who went 0-for-5.
Rich Aurilia homered against Randy Johnson (5-5), who allowed four runs in seven innings.
WHITE SOX 8, CARDINALS 6: Mark McGwire hit his major league-leading 29th homer, but Jeff Abbott's three-run triple led Chicago. McGwire, who 13 homers in his last 17 games, raised his NL-leading RBI total to 73 with his two-run shot in the fourth.
McGwire's presence helped the White Sox draw more than 23,000 fans for the third time in 26 home dates.
White Sox starter Jason Bere (3-5) got the win and Mark Petkovsek (3-3) was the loser.
METS 3, DEVIL RAYS 0: Rick Reed took a perfect game into the seventh inning and finished with a three-hitter, and Mike Piazza homered off Dennis Springer (2-10) to lead New York at home.
Reed (7-3), who struck out 10 and had his first shutout in six years, retired the first 20 batters before Wade Boggs doubled.
BRAVES 7, RED SOX 6: Atlanta rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to stun Boston, winning on Andruw Jones' run-scoring single.
The Braves started their rally off closer Tom Gordon, who gave up RBI singles to Keith Lockhart and Chipper Jones. John Wasdin (3-3) then relieved and gave up a two-run double to Andres Galar-raga, an RBI single by Ryan Klesko and the game-winning hit to Jones.
MARLINS 4, BLUE JAYS 3: Todd Zeile singled home the winning run to cap a bizarre 17th inning as Florida snapped an 11-game losing streak.
Toronto appeared to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the 17th when Felipe Crespo scored from first on a two-out double by Carlos Delgado. But the Marlins argued that Crespo missed third base, and plate umpire Tom Hallion upheld the appeal and ruled him out, ending the inning.
Television replays showed that Crespo appeared to touch the inside of third base on his way to the plate.
ORIOLES 14, PHILLIES 8: Rafael Palmeiro and Brady Anderson each had four RBIs as Baltimore set season highs with 14 runs and 18 hits.
Palmeiro, who has 10 RBIs in his last eight games, hit a two-run homer in Baltimore's four-run sixth off loser Darrin Winston (2-2).
Arthur Rhodes (3-2) got the road win with 22/3 innings of relief.
ATHLETICS 7, DODGERS 3: Blake Stein (2-3), making just his sixth big-league start, allowed five hits and struck out 10 in 81/3 innings for host Oakland.
Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Ramon Martinez (7-3) to put the Athletics up 7-1.
RANGERS 3, ROCKIES 1: Domingo Cedeno homered and drove in all three Texas runs, and Aaron Sele became the majors' second nine-game winner.
Sele (9-3) went eight innings, limiting Colorado to five hits at Coors Field, to join Atlanta's Greg Maddux with nine victories.
ASTROS 9, TIGERS 5: Carl Everett homered and hit a two-run double to cap a five-run ninth for Houston at Detroit.
INDIANS 8, PIRATES 0: At Cleveland, Jim Thome hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs, and Bartolo Colon (5-4) pitched a four-hitter for his second shutout.
ROYALS 8, BREWERS 7: Jose Offerman homered and hit his league-leading seventh triple as Kansas City snapped a four-game home losing streak.
PADRES 4, REDS 2: At San Diego, Joey Hamilton (4-7) allowed two runs in eight innings to break his career-worst six-game losing streak.