The slugger has won many a game with a home run, and the mighty swing he took early in the count indicated he was looking to do it again.
After working the count full against Toronto ace Roy Halladay, Sosa hit a sharp grounder inside the third-base line. The two-run double ended Baltimore's drought of 22 scoreless innings and carried the Orioles to a 5-1 victory Wednesday.
It was Sosa's biggest hit since joining the club in a trade with the Chicago Cubs in February, and he savored it every bit as much as a home run.
"All my life, I've been in a good position to hit a lot of home runs. And every time I go to the plate everybody expects one from me," Sosa said. "Sometimes it's going to happen, but other times you don't win some games only hitting home runs. Sometimes you go up there and get a double or a base hit or something. Today I just battled; I win this one."
And the Orioles got an uplifting victory. Baltimore wasted a fine pitching performance by Daniel Cabrera in a 1-0 loss Tuesday night, and nearly got nothing out of an excellent effort by Erik Bedard before Sosa came through.
Bedard (3-1) struck out a career-high 12 and allowed one run and four hits in eight innings, but he left with Toronto ahead 1-0.
"Bedard was throwing amazing, and losing a game by one run again would have been hard for us," said Javy Lopez, who added a three-run homer after Sosa's hit. "The key of the game was Sammy Sosa hitting that double."
Sosa then pulled a grounder past third baseman Corey Koskie into the left-field corner. Tejada ran through the stop sign of third-base coach Tom Trebelhorn and scored with a headfirst slide to give Baltimore its first lead of the series.
"I was thinking, it's only one out. I've got to try," Tejada said.
After the game, Tejada apologized to Trebelhorn, who replied, "Don't worry about it. It's the result that counts."
Sosa reached third on the play, and after Halladay issued an intentional walk to Rafael Palmeiro, Lopez homered into the left-field seats.
Halladay (4-2) gave up five runs and 12 hits in 7 1/3 innings. Both his losses this season have come against the Orioles.
"I wasn't tired. It's a tough situation, two guys on," he said. "It's just baseball, you get a ground ball a couple inches one way foul, hopefully the other way you get an out. Those two runs scored, they grabbed the momentum and I made a bad pitch to Javy."
Tejada had three hits for Baltimore, which avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season. The Orioles stretched their lead in the AL East to three games over Toronto, which came in having won seven of eight.
Before the game, Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli pulled Sosa aside and told him to have fun.
"I don't know if he was trying too hard or not, but it was a big hit for him," Mazzilli said. "Good timing."
Said Sosa: "I'm a competitive person. I like to be there in a situation like that. Sometimes you try to do too much that sometimes you come up empty. You've got to keep fighting."
Bedard gave up only two hits over the first seven innings, but lost his shutout in the eighth. After Eric Hinske doubled to left, Ken Huckaby sacrificed and John McDonald grounded a hit through the drawn-in infield.
That ended Bedard's run of 22 consecutive scoreless innings, but he capped his outstanding effort with two straight strikeouts.
Halladay was nearly as effective. He did not allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth inning.
- Longtime Orioles bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks returned to the team for the first time since his mild stroke on April 14. He will resume his duties on Friday.
- Toronto is 4-0-2 in road series.
- Palmeiro's second-inning single tied Frank Robinson for 28th place on the career hit list with 2,942.