CINCINNATI Sammy Sosa hit a prodigious homer, acting like nothing had changed since he got caught using a corked bat. He couldn't help but notice the one striking difference.
From now on, one of baseball's beloved stars can expect to get booed.
Sosa singled the first time he made contact while cracking his bat nobody made a fuss and later hit a two-run shot Wednesday night as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 in their slugger's return from a seven-game suspension.
Cubs star Kerry Wood (6-5) retired the first 17 Reds batters and finished with a three-hitter. Still, it was Sosa's show.
Sosa's fifth-inning homer off the top of the batter's eye in center field against Jimmy Haynes (1-6) showed he was ready to get on with it.
On the last day of his suspension, he asked fans to forgive and forget that he had used a corked bat. But on Wednesday, boos drowned out the cheers, and some of the 39,053 fans yelled ''Cork!'' as he waited for pitches.
Pirates 7, Expos 3, 1st game
Pirates 4, Expos 3, 2nd Game
PITTSBURGH Pinch-hitter Jason Kendall's two-run double in the ninth carried Pittsburgh past Montreal in the second game of a doubleheader sweep.
Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and Reggie Sanders homered for the Pirates in the first game.
The Expos took a 3-2 lead in the ninth on Jose Macias' solo homer off Salomon Torres (4-1), who had just entered the game as the Pirates' fourth pitcher.
But Expos closer Rocky Biddle (3-2) couldn't hold the lead as Randall Simon and Matt Stairs singled and pinch-hitter Jeff Reboulet loaded the bases with a surprise bunt single.
Mets 10, Marlins 5
MIAMI Jose Reyes had a bases-loaded triple, a double and four RBIs, and Al Leiter won for the fourth time in five starts for New York.
The Mets had 13 hits, six of them for extra bases, and batted around in the second and fifth innings.
Braves 6, Phillies 1
PHILADELPHIA Russ Ortiz pitched six shutout innings and Robert Fick had three RBIs, leading Atlanta past Kevin Millwood and Philadelphia.
Gary Sheffield added a two-run homer for the Braves, who improved the NL's best record to 46-23.
Diamondbacks 2, Astros 1
HOUSTON Luis Gonzalez hit a solo homer and Quinton McCracken added an RBI single in the top of the ninth to rally Arizona past Houston.
Billy Wagner (1-3) came in to protect a 1-0 Houston lead in the ninth, but Gonzalez led off with his 14th homer of the season to tie it.
Cardinals 9, Brewers 1
MILWAUKEE Glendon Rusch's nightmarish season got even worse Wednesday night when he surrendered eight runs in one-plus inning of Milwaukee's loss to St. Louis.
Rusch (1-11) gave up six hits and five walks and managed to get just three outs in 61 pitches.
Rockies 5, Padres 3
DENVER Shawn Chacon became the majors' fifth 10-game winner as Colorado beat San Diego.
The Rockies had to rally late in a pair of losses to open the four-game series against the Padres, but got all they needed this time against Kevin Jarvis (0-1) in a four-run fifth inning.
Dodgers 8, Giants 2
LOS ANGELES Paul Lo Duca hit a two-run double to extend his hitting streak to 25 games for Los Angeles. The win was the eighth straight for the Dodgers, who moved into a tie for first place with San Francisco in the NL West.
Kazuhisa Ishii (7-2) struggled with his control, walking six to equal a career high. But he held the Giants hitless except for Rich Aurilia, who doubled in the fourth and singled in the sixth. Ishii allowed an unearned run in six innings of work.
Lo Duca was hitless in three at-bats before coming through during a six-run rally in the sixth that blew the game open.
Los Angeles' other runs scored when Alex Cora hit a two-out, two-run single off Kirk Rueter (7-2) in the fourth, putting the Dodgers up 2-1.
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