Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Cubs don't miss Sosa

AP Sports Writer

        CHICAGO — Sammy Sosa went to the batting cage and couldn't even get through his 10-minute hitting routine because his back hurt so badly. So Cubs manager Don Baylor scratched him from the lineup and sent him home with tightness in his lower back. And the rest of the Cubs picked up the slack.

        Miguel Cairo led off the first inning with a homer and Todd Dunwoody drove in two runs in a 5-3 victory over the Reds Tuesday night.

        “If you're going to compete in this league and be able to sustain something, you're going to have bumps in the road,” said Ron Coomer, who added an RBI double. “Guys have got to come through. That's the mark of a good team.”

        Gary Matthews Jr. scored two runs and went 3-for-4 to tie his career high.

        Cairo, starting in place of the injured Eric Young, reached in his first four at-bats.

        “I was just surprised when I came in and I was in the lineup,” Cairo said. “I'm just trying to do my job. I'm just being patient, swinging at good pitches, and it's worked out well for me.”

        Sosa, who injured his back on a hard slide into third Saturday, is listed as day-to-day. Sosa, who last week hit the 400th home run of his career, is hitting .265 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs this year.

        CUBS NOTES: Coomer extended his hitting streak to 10 games, a team high for the season. Coomer's career best is 11 straight. ... Cairo has led off with a homer twice. He did it July 20, 1999, against Philadelphia when he was with Tampa Bay. ... Todd Hundley traded in his No. 99 for familiar No. 9, the number he's worn his entire career to honor father Randy. Hundley wanted No. 9 when he came to the Cubs during the offseason, but Damon Buford already had it. Buford was released last week.


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