Originally created 08/29/98

Sosa hits No. 53



DENVER -- Sammy Sosa hit his 53rd homer on Friday night, a solo shot in the first inning of the Chicago Cubs game against the Colorado Rockies.

Sosa's 414-foot homer into the bullpen in right-center field off John Thomson left him one behind St. Louis' Mark McGwire, who has 54 in the pursuit of Roger Maris' single-season record of 61.

Sosa's two-out homer, on a 1-2 pitch, was his 24th this season on the road, breaking the club record of 23, previously accomplished by Hack Wilson in 1930, Ernie Banks in 1960 and Dave Kingman in 1979.

It also was the 13th straight series in which Sosa has homered, dating to July 22 against Montreal. His 53 homers are the second-highest total for a Cub, trailing only Wilson's NL-record 56 in 1930.

Sosa, homerless in three previous games this season at Coors Field including the opening game of this series Thursday night, now has homered nine times here, ranking him third among Colorado opponents. Los Angeles' Eric Karros has 13 homer and New York's Mike Piazza 12 here.

Sosa was cheered when he came to the plate, as he was in his six at-bats on Thursday, when he went 2-for-5 with two singles and an RBI.

Asked before the first game of the series about hitter-friendly Coors Field, Sosa said, "This is a good place. The last few years I've done a lot of good things hitting the ball here. I would have to say I've had pretty good luck here. I will be here for four games in a situation that I like.

"But for me, it doesn't matter where you are. You still have to go out there and make contact. My idea isn't for me to shoot for the fence. I want to go out and do what I've done lately, make contact and take it to right field, center field, no matter where it goes."

In 21 previous career games at Coors Field, Sosa had batted .368 (35-for-95) with eight homers and 27 RBIs. During the Cubs' two-game series at Coors Field in May, he went 4-for-7 with a double and four RBIs.