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Sammy Sosa chafed at suggestions over the weekend that he needed a day off to break out of his 6-for-35 slump since the All-Star break.
"I don't need people to worry about me," he said. "I've been at the top of my game for many, many years and I know how to make adjustments. Sometimes a player goes through things like this, period."
The slump appears to be over. Sosa came through with two key hits Monday in the Cubs' rousing 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
After hitting his 30th homer in the second inning, Sosa drove in Mark Bellhorn, who had singled to lead off the ninth, with the game-tying run on a sharp single. Fred McGriff then doubled home Chris Stynes, who reached when Phillies first baseman Travis Lee threw away his sacrifice attempt, to boost the Cubs' record under manager Bruce Kimm to 9-4.
The eternally humble Kimm refuses to take any credit for the turnaround.
"Maybe I came in at the right time," he said. "Who knows? These are good players and I'm not going to try to figure it out. I'll continue to try to enjoy this ride and do the best job I can."
Sosa said Kimm is already doing the job.
"He communicates with every player and people like being around him," he said. "When you feel comfortable around somebody, you go out there and play much better for him."
Kimm went out of his way to defend Sosa before the game, saying it hadn't crossed his mind to give his slugging right fielder a day off.
"I don't have any worries about him," Kimm said. "I just know he'll be in the lineup every day and he can take off at any time.
"He's a manager's ballplayer. I know when the bell rings he'll be the first one on the field and he'll be busting his tail until the game's over."
Sosa's two-run homer gave the Cubs and Kerry Wood a 5-0 lead in the second. It marked the ninth time he has reached 30 homers and moved him within 20 of the 500-homer mark.
"No, no, no, I don't want to talk about that," Sosa said. "I'll just get my hits."
Sosa's homer almost became meaningless after the Cubs blew the lead.
Wood gave up three runs on four hits in the sixth and was pulled for pinch-hitter Delino DeShields with two runners aboard in the bottom of the inning. DeShields walked, but the Cubs didn't score.
"I don't know if I managed very good," Kimm said, "but these guys battled."
The Phillies tied the game in the seventh after defensive miscues by Stynes at third and Sosa, who let a ball slide under his glove. When Bobby Abreu ripped a Kyle Farnsworth fastball into the right-field seats in the ninth, Philadelphia seemed headed for a 6-5 victory.
But Sosa and McGriff made sure that didn't happen. Sosa said he went back to "attacking the ball" Monday after analyzing some video from earlier in the season.
"I found something that I was doing before," he said, "but I'm going to keep it a secret."