One homer shy of No. 20, Soriano gets day off

One homer shy of No. 20, Soriano gets day off

PITTSBURGH -- Alfonso Soriano entered Wednesday's finale with the Pirates one home run shy of his 11th straight 20-home run season.

The Cubs outfielder hit No. 19 on Tuesday, and with one more swing, he will join the Red Sox's David Ortiz as the only sluggers to record 11 consecutive 20-home run seasons, including this year. Albert Pujols needs two home runs to reach 20.

When Soriano gets to 20, he will join Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more home runs in each of their first six seasons as a Cub.

Soriano was given Wednesday off, which will equate to two days of rest, including Thursday's off-day. A little rest and a shift to a lighter bat seem to have made a difference. Soriano did not hit a homer in the first 30 games, but since May 15, he has 19, tied for the most in the NL with the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen.

Is the difference the bat?

"He only went down half an ounce," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I haven't talked to him about it. He might have gone back up, for all I know. All I know is since that day, he's been one of the more productive players in all of Major League Baseball."