Baseball: Sosa level in home run race

WITH JUST a handful of games left to play, the race for the record number of home runs in a season took a startling turn last night as Sammy Sosa drew level with Mark McGwire, writes Andrew Marshall in Washington.

Both have been chasing the record since beginning of the season, but McGwire was first to break Roger Maris' record of 61, and stood two ahead of Sosa. Last night, Sosa hit two home runs in the Chicago Cubs game against the Milwaukee Brewers, putting both on 65, and putting himself clearly back in contention. Chicago beat the Brewers 7-0.

The race continues to galvanise the nation, attracting almost as many headlines as the scandals in Washington. McGwire and the St Louis Cardinals were last night facing the Houston Astros, and he has four more games - against Montreal - before the end of the regular season. Sosa will play three more games, against Houston.

Either could win. It may be that the season ultimately turns on a disputed shot by McGwire which seemed like a home run, but was ruled by an umpire to have been interfered with by a fan.