No wonder Sammy Sosa is hot: It's June.

Sosa homered for the second straight day and took over the National League lead with 19, leading the Cubs over the San Diego Padres, 7-2, yesterday in Chicago.

Sosa, who hit a major league record 20 home runs last June, has two this month and 15 home runs and 31 RBI in his last 27 games. He hit a solo shot in the first off rookie Matt Clement (1-6), sending the ball over the left field bleachers onto Waveland Avenue.

"It's only the third day. I don't know if the same thing is going to happen like last year," Sosa said. "I'm like the weather -- when it's hot, I'm hot. I've got to continue to be patient."

Henry Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, his 11th of the season, in the Cubs' six-run second inning.

MARLINS 4, CARDINALS 2: Rookie Mike Lowell, who missed the start of the season following surgery for testicular cancer, hit his first major league homer to help host Florida rally past St. Louis. "Each day I feel a little better," said Lowell, who has a five-game RBI streak and is hitting .278. "I'm going through a lot of firsts."

Mark McGwire hit his 17th homer but left in the sixth inning as a precaution because of tightness in his lower back. He said he expects to play today in Detroit.

Florida trailed 2-1 when Preston Wilson was hit by an 0-2 pitch leading off the seventh, and Lowell followed with a home run off Darren Oliver (4-3).

BREWERS 4, ASTROS 1: Dave Nilsson picked an opportune time to figure out Shane Reynolds. Nilsson homered twice and doubled as host Milwaukee avoided a three-game sweep.

"I've never hit Shane Reynolds at all," said Nilsson, hitless in his only three previous at-bats against him. "I think if you'd speak to him, he'd say they were mistakes. When you're going well, that's what you hit is a lot of mistakes."

GIANTS 7, PHILLIES 4: In Philadelphia, Curt Schilling (8-3) failed in his quest to become the first pitcher with six straight complete games since Orel Hershiser in 1988, getting knocked out after seven innings. Staked to a 4-1 lead after the Phillies scored three in the sixth, Schilling (8-3) was rocked for four runs, four hits and a walk in the seventh.

Jeff Kent was 2 for 5 with three RBI, including a two-run single that tied it at 4 in the seventh. Ellis Burks drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.

WHITE SOX 10, BLUE JAYS 3: Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer as Chicago had its third straight big game at the plate, piling up 16 hits in Toronto. The White Sox, who have struggled at the plate until recently, had 13 hits Tuesday and 15 on Wednesday.