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Cubs see action in Houston
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07/14/2004 1:05 AM ET
Cubs see action in Houston
RBI for Sosa, Alou singles; Zambrano goes one inning
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Sammy Sosa breaks his bat on an RBI single in the first inning of the 2004 All-Star Game. (Brian Bahr/Getty)

HOUSTON -- With The Rocket on the hill for one of the most highly-hyped starts of his career, Sammy Sosa probably figured to have a quiet first inning in right field for Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Guess again.

Sosa worked up an early sweat when Ichiro Suzuki pulled a leadoff double and Ivan Rodriguez followed with an RBI triple to right field as the American League jumped all over hometown favorite Roger Clemens in an eventual six-run first inning and a 9-4 American League win.

But Sosa's broken-bat RBI single in the bottom of the inning put a charge into what looked like a National League comeback. They cut the deficit to 7-4 in the fourth inning before Boston's David Ortiz hit a two-run home run in the sixth to seal the win.

2004 All-Star Game

"I thought we had a shot," said Cubs outfielder Moises Alou, who entered the game in left field in the fifth inning. "But then Ortiz hit the homer. In this game, you're always going to see great pitching, great hitters. I was just glad to be here."

Facing AL starter Mark Mulder, who surrendered a ground-rule double to Albert Pujols and plunked Scott Rolen with a pitch, Sosa lifted a broken-bat hit that fell just short of right fielder Vladimir Guerrero. Pujols scored, making it 6-1.

Sosa and Alou both finished 1-for-2 with singles.

"I was kind of nervous there in the fourth inning and they had not called my name," Alou said. "Even though I played in the All-Star Game before, you always want to get in the game as a pinch-hitter or something. It was nice to go out there and play four innings."

Alou entered the game an inning later than first-time All-Star Carlos Zambrano, who came on to pitch the fourth inning and recorded two quick outs, including a first-pitch foul-out by Guerrero on a fastball that registered 98 mph.


"I was kind of nervous there in the fourth inning and they had not called my name. Even though I played in the All-Star Game before, you always want to get in the game as a pinch-hitter or something."
-- Moises Alou

But Zambrano issued a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Ortiz and paid the price when Alex Rodriguez lifted a 71-mph changeup for a triple over center fielder Lance Berkman and a 7-1 AL lead.

Zambrano and Sosa did bother to wait around for a potential NL comeback, which would have regained home-field advantage in the World Series.

So Alou was left to address the Cubs' second half, which begins Thursday with the start of a four-game series at Wrigley Field against the surprising Brewers.

"I have always been a believer that every series is a big series," Alou said. "We've been able to hang in there. We're seven games out now."

The Cubs are in second place at 47-40, seven games behind the division-leading Cardinals, a half-game ahead of Cincinnati and 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee. Does Alou expect Cubs general manager Jim Hendry to make some moves before the trading deadline?

"I think we are a pretty good team like we are right now," Alou said. "I don't know what he's going to try and get because we have everybody healthy again."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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