Originally created 04/29/00

Cubs end losing streak



CHICAGO -- At long last, Kevin Tapani could savor victory. It took him 10 months and 16 starts to get one, but his 12-game losing streak is finally over.

"I didn't feel like I wasn't competitive or anything like that," Tapani said Friday after the Chicago Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5, his first victory since June.

"It was just one of those things that wasn't working out. I learned quite a while ago you can't get down and mope about personal stuff (stats). Today was just fun and now I don't have to listen to all that other stuff."

Steve Finley's ninth homer leading off the seventh gave Arizona a 1-0 lead and Tapani (1-3) appeared on his way to tying the club record with his 13th straight loss.

But in the bottom of the seventh, Damon Buford tied the game with a solo shot off Armando Reynoso, and Sammy Sosa delivered go-ahead three-run shot off Russ Springer (1-2) to get Tapani the win.

"I don't know if the guys were pressing a bit with me pitching, but they are aware of what is going on, too, and they were trying to get a win for me," Tapani said.

"When Sammy does that, it's getting to where it doesn't surprise you. You just kind of expect it."

Still, Tapani had to sweat it out.

Arizona's Jay Bell hit an infield single with two outs in the eighth off Kyle Farnsworth, and Luis Gonzalez homered to left to make it 4-3. The Cubs added a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on Eric Young's two-run single.

Kelly Stinnett answered in the ninth with a two-run homer off Rick Aguilera, who hung on for his fifth save.

After Stinnett's homer made it 6-5 with no outs, Aguilera walked Andy Fox, Lenny Harris hit into fielder's choice and Tony Womack grounded into a double play to end the game.

Sosa's two-out homer in the seventh was preceded by a single from Ricky Gutierrez and a walk to Mark Grace.

"I wanted to throw the ball a little higher than I got it," Springer said.

"We gave in to Sammy and gave him a good pitch to hit," Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm sure Russ was trying to get the ball someplace else."

Before Buford's game-tying shot off Reynoso, Diamondbacks' second baseman Bell just missed catching a foul pop down the right field line that would have retired Buford and kept Reynoso in the game.

"It was a difficult play," Showalter said.

Tapani, 0-12 in his previous 15 starts, allowed just three hits and a run in seven strong innings. It was his first victory since beating Colorado on June 24. He'd been routed for 11 hits and 10 runs in 3 2-3 innings during his previous start against the New York Mets.

"By having as bad a game as that, it magnifies that you haven't won," Tapani said. "You give up 10 runs and your ERA balloons and it looks a lot worse than it was. I didn't start doubting myself," he said.

Reynoso, who didn't retire a batter in his previous start, gave up six hits and a run in six innings plus.

"It was a big contrast from my last start," Reynoso said. "I just lost a little on that home run to Buford."

Notes: Scott Downs will start for the Cubs on Saturday because Kerry Wood's blister has not healed sufficiently for him to go. Andrew Lorraine is scheduled to face Randy Johnson on Sunday. ... Dutch McCall dropped 13 straight decisions for Chicago from May 15-Sept. 17, 1948. ... Cubs third baseman Shane Andrews was a lineup scratch because of back stiffness. Willie Greene got the start. ... Sosa extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... On the same day fellow "Nasty Boy" Norm Charlton was released by the Cincinnati Reds, former reliever Rob Dibble led the singing of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." . ...In his previous start against San Francisco, Reynoso gave up six hits and seven runs in the first. ... Arizona has hit 11 homers in the first four games of its current road trip. The Diamondbacks now have 41 homers in 23 April games.