CHICAGO (AP) _ Sammy Sosa homered for the second straight day and took over the National League lead with 19, leading the Chicago Cubs over the San Diego Padres 7-2 Thursday.

Sosa, who hit a major league record 20 home runs last June, has two this month and 15 home runs and 31 RBIs 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.

Sosa, who is one behind major league co-leaders Ken Griffey Jr. and Jose Canseco, had been tied for the NL lead with Raul Mondesi.

Henry Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, his 11th of the season, in a six-run second inning, helping the Cubs win for the sixth time in seven games.

Kevin Tapani (5-2) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He is 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in his last seven starts.

Clement, who beat Milwaukee in his previous start, gave up seven runs and six hits in four innings as San Diego lost for the fourth time in five games.

After Sosa homered in the first, the Cubs batted around in the second, taking a 3-0 lead on Lance Johnson's RBI grounder and Mickey Morandini's sacrifice fly.

Mark Grace hit an RBI double and with runners on second and third, and Rodriguez followed with his fourth homer in eight games.

Pinch-hitter John Vander Wal hit an RBI single in the fifth for San Diego. Ruben Rivera added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Notes: Vander Wal had his 102nd hit as a pinch-hitter to tie Jim Dwyer for 12th on the career list. Manny Mota leads with 150. ... San Diego's Reggie Sanders was sidelined with a strained muscle located in his rib cage and is day to day.