Sixty now seems a cinch for Sammy Sosa.
Just one more powerful swing, one more drive over a fence or a wall, either at Wrigley Field or elsewhere, and he will be the first major league player to reach 60 homers twice.
"I know I'm just one more away. The whole world is pretty much thinking about it," Sosa said after hitting his 59th as the host Cubs lost again, 5-3, to the Reds.
Babe Ruth hit his benchmark 60 homers in 1927. Six years earlier, he'd hit 59. Mark McGwire set the record with 70 last season and has 54 this year with three weeks left.
With a 17 mph wind blowing out on a perfect day in Chicago for home run hitters, Sosa wasn't the only one to connect. The Reds' Greg Vaughn hit his fifth homer in three games, a two-run, go-ahead shot in the seventh. It was his seventh homer in his last 26 at-bats, and the Reds' 23rd homer over a seven-game span. Vaughn, who hit 50 a year ago, now has 36 for the season.
Sosa drove a fifth-inning pitch from Pete Harnisch 465 feet into the back row of center field bushes that serve as a hitter's backdrop. His drive, which ended a three-game homerless stretch, didn't need any help from the wind. Sosa has 16 homers in his last 26 games.
"Sammy's in a groove, hitting the ball well. He's very aggressive," Reds shortstop Barry Larkin said. "But 70? That's almost Nintendo stuff."
BREWERS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 8: Hard-hitting Arizona ran into a pitcher at Milwaukee's County Stadium they could not overcome -- their own Armando Reynoso.
The Diamondbacks, who scored 28 runs in the three-game series, saw Reynoso give up six runs in two innings in a loss to the Brewers.
Arizona had its NL West lead cut to seven games over idle San Francisco.
Jeromy Burnitz drove in a season-high six runs with a home run, double and two singles. Scott Karl (9-11) won at home for the first time in 18 starts; he allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Burnitz went 4 for 5 with a two-run double off Reynoso (10-4) in the first, a two-run homer in the second, a run-scoring single against Brian Anderson in the fourth and an RBI single off Darren Holmes in the sixth.
PADRES 10, EXPOS 3: In a colossal blunder by umpires, San Diego almost got four outs in the seventh inning of their win over visiting Montreal. And these weren't even baseball's newly hired umps.
Reggie Sanders struck out for the third out and headed back to the dugout, but the umpires didn't notice and the Expos didn't leave the field.
So Phil Nevin went to the plate and ran the count to 2-1 against Montreal pitcher Ted Lilly before someone in the Expos dugout called over plate umpire Jerry Layne and told him the problem.
Buddy Carlyle got his first big league win and San Diego won for the 10th time in 14 games. Chris Gomez matched his career high for hits by going 4 for 5, scoring twice and driving in a run. Nevin and Tony Gwynn had three hits apiece.
ASTROS 3, PHILLIES 1: Ken Caminiti hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning as Houston beat host Philadelphia to complete a 7-0 road trip, its best ever.
The NL Central-leading Astros won three times at Montreal and then finished a four-game sweep at Veterans Stadium.
The game was scoreless in the sixth when it was delayed by rain for 28 minutes. When play resumed, Houston's Daryle Ward homered on the first pitch from Paul Byrd.
Shane Reynolds held the Phillies hitless for five innings. After the rain, Rob Ducey, who led off the sixth with a double, scored on Bobby Abreu's sacrifice fly. Reynolds (15-11) allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings for his first victory since Aug. 5.
METS 3, DODGERS 1: Orel Hershiser pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and Mike Piazza, another former Dodger, hit a two-run homer to lead New York over host Los Angeles.
Hershiser outdueled Kevin Brown as the Mets trimmed Atlanta's NL East lead to three games and maintained a 3 1/2-game lead over Cincinnati in the wild-card race. Piazza, Hershiser's batterymate in 1992-94, hit his 34th homer of the season in the sixth inning to put the Mets ahead 2-1.