Oakland at Baltimore

W: R. Lopez (1-0) L: B. Zito (0-1)
HR: OAK - None   BAL - L. Matos (1)

Sosa 2-for-4 as Orioles handle Zito, A's

SportsLine.com wire reports

BALTIMORE -- Sammy Sosa was doing a little dance in front of his locker as the crowd around him began to grow. He stepped back from the TV cameras and microphones to turn down the volume of the pulsating salsa music on his personal DVD player.

"I don't want to get released," he said, flashing his trademark smile.

There's no danger of that happening anytime soon in Baltimore, where Sosa received a hero's welcome before getting two hits Monday in the Orioles' 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Luis Matos homered and Rodrigo Lopez pitched six innings to help Baltimore earn its fifth consecutive opening-day win.

Making his debut with the Orioles after being traded from the Cubs in February, Sosa singled in his first two at-bats and went 2-for-4. He didn't score or drive in a run, but his presence delighted the crowd of 48,271 -- largest on opening day in the 13-year history of Camden Yards.

"Sammy, he's a special player," Baltimore first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "You can see by the reaction of the fans, especially out in right field. They embraced him like he's been here for a long time."

Sosa is trying to bounce back from a bitter season in Chicago, where he slumped to .253 with 35 homers and fell out of favor with the organization and fans. He also annoyed some of his teammates with a boom box that often played earsplitting music.

In Baltimore, however, the slugger appears to be an ideal fit.

"I feel comfortable. I just feel that it is my house, like I've been here before," he said. "I prepared for this moment. The support I get from the fans today was incredible. On top of that, we played a good game."

The Orioles beat nemesis Barry Zito, who was 2-1 with an 0.63 ERA in four career starts in Baltimore. Making his first opening day start, the left-hander allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.

"Barry had a couple of walks that scored on him. That kind of hurt him, and he hung a curveball (to Matos)," A's manager Ken Macha said. "Besides that, I thought he was good."

Zito was moved to the No. 1 spot in the rotation after Oakland traded Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder during the offseason.

Lopez scattered seven hits, leading Baltimore past the A's for the first time since 2003. Oakland was 7-0 against the Orioles last season.

"He threw strikes, he kept the ball down. He changed speeds," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He's a gutty guy."

Sosa received a warm ovation from the fans in the bleachers when he sprinted to right field in the top of the first.

"My teammates asked me if I was going to go out there and run, and I said yes," Sosa said. "This is my way to do it, everywhere I go. Today I had a chance to do that and the fans welcomed me. It made me very, very proud."

The fans cheered even louder in the bottom of the first when Sosa lined a single to left-center in his first at-bat with Baltimore.

"I think we all got goose-bumps there," Mazzilli said.

The hit put runners on the corners with two outs before Zito retired Palmeiro on a fly ball.

Matos put the Orioles up 2-0 in the second, driving a 1-2 curveball over the center-field wall after Jay Gibbons walked. Matos was 1-for-14 lifetime against Zito before connecting.

In the third, Miguel Tejada drew a one-out walk, went to third on a single by Sosa and scored on a sacrifice fly by Palmeiro. The inning ended when Sosa was thrown out at home by shortstop Bobby Crosby, who recovered nicely after bobbling a grounder.

A two-out RBI double by Melvin Mora made it 4-0 in the fourth.

Oakland put two runners on in the second through fifth innings and Marco Scutaro hit a one-out double in the sixth, but Lopez worked out of trouble on each occasion.

Oakland stranded 10 runners and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"We did have some opportunities," Macha said, "but we didn't get the big hit."

Steve Kline gave up one hit in the seventh, Jorge Julio worked a perfect eighth and B.J. Ryan got the final three outs.


  • Crosby was 0-for-23 lifetime against Baltimore before getting an infield hit in the second. He left with upper back pain in the fifth and was replaced by Scutaro.
  • Baltimore C Javy Lopez was replaced in the seventh after experiencing back pain.
  • Oakland had won three straight openers and seven of eight.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Ex-Cub Sammy Sosa singles in his first at-bat in a Baltimore uniform. (AP)
Ex-Cub Sammy Sosa singles in his first at-bat in a Baltimore uniform. (AP)

Players of the Game

L. Matos
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

R. Lopez
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 0
BB 1
K 2

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Oakland Athletics
Mark Kotsay, CF5020000 .400
Jason Kendall, C4000012 .000
Eric Chavez, 3B3000101 .000
Erubiel Durazo, DH4010003 .250
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4010002 .250
Eric Byrnes, LF4010011 .250
Bobby Crosby, SS2010011 .500
    Marco Scutaro, SS2010000 .500
Nick Swisher, RF4010013 .250
Mark Ellis, 2B3000003 .000
   a- Keith Ginter, PH1000000 .000
a-grounded out for Ellis in the 9th
2B - Marco Scutaro (1, Lopez)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Scutaro-Ellis-Hatteberg
E - Bobby Crosby (1, ), Marco Scutaro (1, wild throw)
Oakland Athletics
Barry Zito (L,0-1) 6644331 6.00
Justin Duchscherer 1100000 0.00
Kiko Calero 1000110 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 101-60, Justin Duchscherer 11-7, Kiko Calero 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Barry Zito 5-10, Justin Duchscherer 1-1, Kiko Calero 1-2
Batters Faced - Barry Zito 27, Justin Duchscherer 3, Kiko Calero 5
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4010000 .250
Melvin Mora, 3B4011001 .250
Miguel Tejada, SS2100201 .000
Sammy Sosa, RF4020000 .500
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B3001003 .000
Javy Lopez, C3010010 .333
    Geronimo Gil, C1000011 .000
Jay Gibbons, DH2100212 .000
Luis Matos, CF4112012 .250
Larry Bigbie, LF3110000 .333
2B - Melvin Mora (1, Zito)
HR - Luis Matos (1, Zito)
SF - Rafael Palmeiro (1)
RBI - Melvin Mora (1), Rafael Palmeiro (1), Luis Matos 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Melvin Mora (1)
Team LOB - 7
E - Brian Roberts (1, misplayed grounder)
Baltimore Orioles
Rodrigo Lopez (W,1-0) 6700120 0.00
Steve Kline 1100000 0.00
Jorge Julio 1000010 0.00
B.J. Ryan 1000010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 103-71, Steve Kline 11-7, Jorge Julio 11-9, B.J. Ryan 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 7-10, Steve Kline 1-2, Jorge Julio 1-1, B.J. Ryan 2-0
Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 27, Steve Kline 4, Jorge Julio 3, B.J. Ryan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 48271
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Lazaro Diaz