Sammy Sosa, who homered to tie Mark McGwire for the major league lead, came out of the dugout to celebrate two home runs. The second, however, wasn't his.
Sosa took a curtain call after his 55th homer, in the third inning of Monday night's 5-4 victory over Cincinnati, tied McGwire, who went homerless at Florida, for the major league lead. An inning later, Sosa stood in for Kerry Wood.Wood gave the Cubs, who remained tied for the lead with the New York Mets in the NL wild-card race, the lead with a two-run shot. The Wrigley Field crowd chanted for him to step out of the dugout. And when Wood wouldn't, the Cubs' expert took his place.
"I was still in the game and I wasn't going to go out," the rookie right-hander (13-6) said. "I wouldn't want a pitcher to take a curtain call if I was in his park and he hit a home run off me."
So Sosa took the bonus curtain call.
"He's been taking them all year, so what's one more for him?" Wood said.
"He didn't want to go," Sosa said. "Hey, but you know we take that as a joke. Kerry Wood came through big, pitching and hitting. He surprised me."
Sosa, who has homered 16 times in games Wood has started, moved within one homer of tying Hack Wilson's 68-year-old club and National League record when he lined an 0-1 pitch from Brett Tomko (11-11) into the left-field bleachers.
" I threw a little bit of everything at Sammy, but unfortunately I threw a bad pitch," Tomko said. "He's having an unbelievable season. I don't think anyone's hotter in baseball, including McGwire."
CARDINALS 5, MARLINS 3: McGwire went 0-for-3 and lost his lead in the home run race, but teammate Brian Jordan homered to help St. Louis.
McGwire struck out twice, walked twice, fouled out and fell to 0-for-9 lifetime against Marlins starter Kirt Ojala (1-4).
McGwire, who along with Sosa needs one homer to equal Wilson's NL record, worked the count to 3-2 on each of his five trips to the plate, with the Florida crowd of 36,584 rooting for the Cardinals slugger.
ASTROS 4, BRAVES 3: Houston scored three runs in the ninth on six singles and rallied at Atlanta to win for the 41st time this season.
Houston, held to just two hits in the first eight innings by John Smoltz (13-3), got five straight singles to start the ninth.
With the Astros trailing 3-1, Craig Biggio, Bill Spiers and Derek Bell singled to load the bases and chase Smoltz, who had won eight straight decisions and hadn't lost since June 26 - a span of 12 starts.
Kerry Ligtenberg gave up RBI singles to Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou.
With two outs, Brad Ausmus lined a single to right to score Bell.
Jay Powell (5-5) got the win despite allowing a solo homer to Chipper Jones in the eighth.
GIANTS 6, PHILLIES 2: First baseman Rico Brogna's throwing error allowed San Francisco to score the go-ahead run in a four-run eighth inning.
Jeff Kent, who hit his 25th homer, added an RBI single in the eighth as the Giants earned a split of the four-game series and stayed within two games of Chicago and New York in the NL wild-card race.
METS 8, DODGERS 3: Mike Piazza had run-scoring hits with two outs in his first two at-bats to put the Mets ahead for good, and New York won three-of-four in the series at Los Angeles.
The Mets remained tied with the Cubs for the lead in the NL wild-card race.
Playing at Dodger Stadium for the first time since being traded to Florida and then to the Mets, Piazza went 3-for-4 with a walk Monday night, and was 8-for-13 with two walks in the series.
PADRES 5, EXPOS 2: At San Diego, Greg Vaughn hit his 45th homer and Wally Joyner and George Arias also homered as the Padres (89-49) pulled within one game of Atlanta (90-48) for the best record in the NL.
Vaughn extended his club single-season record and career-high when he lined a pitch from Carl Pavano (4-7) over the left-field fence leading off the second.
Joey Hamilton (12-11) won his second straight start, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings.
Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth for his 44th save, tying the club record set by Mark Davis in 1989.
RANGERS 13, TIGERS 2: Bryce Florie tried everything against Juan Gonzalez. Nothing worked.
Fastball on the corner? Home run. A slider down? Double to left. Curve ball? Triple to center. Changeup? Another double.
Gonzalez drove in seven runs and set a Texas club record with four extra-base hits - all off Florie - Monday night, powering the Rangers to a 13-2 rout of the Detroit Tigers.
Against Florie, Gonzalez hit his 39th homer, tripled and doubled twice. In his two games against the right-hander, Gonzalez is 8-for-8 with two homers, a triple, five doubles and 12 RBIs.
"He hit every pitch I had," Florie (6-9) said. "I threw him four different pitches and he hit every one. I can't get the guy out. Maybe I should just throw my glove at him next time."
Gonzalez, who leads the majors with 143 RBIs, would probably rip the leather off that, too.
"Evidently he sees the ball well against Florie," Texas manager Johnny Oates deadpanned.
Gonzalez just missed becoming only the second Ranger to hit for the cycle when Bobby Higginson ran down his low liner to medium right in the eighth.
"I was pulling for it to fall in," Oates said. "He gave it a shot. We told him in the dugout not to make a farce of it, but if there's any chance, stop at first (on a hit). We didn't want to make a farce of it, but I've never seen a cycle."
The Tiger Stadium crowd booed Higginson's catch and booed again when pinch-hitter Mike Simms grounded out with Gonzalez on deck to end the ninth.
Gonzalez, who drove in a career-high 144 runs in 1996, is close to becoming the first AL player to reach 150 RBIs since Ted Williams and Vern Stephens had 159 apiece in 1949 for Boston. He was on pace to top Hack Wilson's record 190 when he had 100 at the All-Star break.
"I'm feeling like I did earlier," Gonzalez said. "I'm swinging the bat well with men on base."
Roberto Kelly added a two-run homer for the Rangers, who moved within 21/2 games of idle Anaheim in the AL West.
Esteban Loaiza (3-3) allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings.
INDIANS 15, ATHLETICS 6: At Cleveland, rookie Richie Sexson homered for the fourth time in three days and drove in four runs, and the Indians had their biggest first inning (10 runs) in 44 years to rout Oakland.
Oakland's Rickey Henderson became the sixth player to score 2,000 runs, joining Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Pete Rose and Willie Mays.
RED SOX 5, MARINERS 1: Nomar Garciaparra moved closer to joining an exclusive home run list with No. 29.
With the homer at Fenway Park, Gar-cia-parra is one away from becoming only the fifth player in major league history to hit 30 or more homers in his first two seasons. The other four are Rudy York (1937-38), Ron Kittle (1983-84), Jose Canseco (1986-87) and Mark Mc-Gwire (1987-88).
WHITE SOX 4, ORIOLES 1: Albert Belle hit his 41st homer and James Baldwin (9-5) pitched seven strong innings at Camden Yards as Baltimore's losing streak reached eight games.
Greg Norton also homered for the White Sox, who have won six of eight.
Baldwin was yanked in the eighth after giving up a leadoff single and a walk. He allowed six hits, one walk and an unearned run in seven innings.
TWINS 2, DEVIL RAYS 1: At Minneapolis, Bob Tewksbury, the subject of trade rumors, pitched seven scoreless innings for Minnesota.