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Colorado at Baltimore

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Baltimore «00061000x7130

Sosa matches McGwire with 583rd HR as O's down Rockies

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- Tying Mark McGwire on the career home run list gave Sammy Sosa a chance to look back to their memorable duel in 1998 -- for a moment.

Sosa then turned his focus to the task at hand, which is keeping the Baltimore Orioles in first place.

Sosa hit his 583rd home run to pull even with McGwire for sixth place on the career list, part of a six-run fourth inning that carried the Orioles past the Colorado Rockies 7-2 Saturday night.

Sosa's homer off Byung-Hyun Kim was an opposite-field shot that cleared the 25-foot scoreboard in right field. It was the ninth home run of the year for the former Chicago Cubs slugger, who waged an unforgettable race against McGwire to be the first to break Roger Maris' single-season record of 61.

"In 1998, the year Mark and I went head to head, that was a privilege for me to be there with him," Sosa said. "And now he's retired, he's sitting home relaxing. To have a chance to tie him today, it's very nice."

McGwire finished with 70 homers that year; Sosa had 66. The record was broken in 2001 by Barry Bonds, who hit 73.

Sosa's mission this season is to guide the Orioles into the playoffs for the first time since 1997, so he didn't dwell on his place in baseball history.

"Right now there's no time to celebrate thinking about it, because we're on a mission, you know," he said. "Nobody expected us to be in first place, and we're still here. We're just going to continue fighting, fighting every day.

"I'm still playing. My career is not going to stop here."

Sosa now needs 17 home runs to become the fifth player in major-league history to hit 600. After striking out three times Friday, he went 2-for-4 with a double and scored two runs.

"To have a chance to tie Mr. McGwire today is incredible," Sosa said. "I know I can go more, I know I can do more."

Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro singled twice to move within 21 hits of joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in major-league history to have 3,000 hits and 500 homers.

But this night was about Sosa, who played with Palmeiro on the Texas Rangers in 1989.

"He's moving up the charts quickly. He'll get to 600 before you know it," Palmeiro said. "When he gets on a roll, we're going to have some fun watching him."

Sidney Ponson (7-4) gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings for the Orioles, who have won four of five. He struck out six and walked none.

Eddy Garabito hit his first major-league homer and Todd Helton had two doubles for the Rockies, who fell to 5-27 on the road.

"We were a little overmatched tonight, and not too many of our guys are hot. When that happens, it usually goes the pitcher's way," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said.

Miguel Tejada led off the fourth with his 19th home run to put Baltimore up 1-0. Three pitches later, Sosa performed his trademark hop at the plate an instant after sending the ball toward the flag court beyond the wall in right.

Palmeiro followed with a single and went to third on a double by Jay Gibbons before B.J. Surhoff and Sal Fasano hit RBI singles. After Larry Bigbie drew a walk, Brian Roberts chased Kim with a two-run single.

Marcos Carvajal then got Melvin Mora to hit into a double play. Mora accounted for all three outs in the inning.

Kim (1-6) gave up six runs and nine hits in his third start since joining Colorado's rotation. He allowed a total of four runs over 12 innings in his other two.

"He didn't have a slider, he had nothing much but a fastball, and he was up way more than down. That's a tough combination," Hurdle said. "He couldn't change speed or direction, and he didn't locate the ball that well."

Baltimore made it 7-0 in the fifth when Sosa hit a one-out double and scored on a single by Palmeiro.

Garabito, a former Orioles minor-leaguer, hit a two-run shot in the seventh.

Notes

  • The Orioles have hit back-to-back homers eight times this season.
  • Colorado is 1-16 on the road when scoring fewer than three runs.
  • Every Baltimore starter had at least one hit by the fourth inning.
  • The Orioles have averaged 7.6 runs in Ponson's 14 starts.
  • Baltimore activated OF Luis Matos from the disabled list after the game and optioned OF David Newhan to Triple-A Ottawa.
 
Copyright 2014 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.
 
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Sammy Sosa's ninth homer of the season puts him 17 away from the 600 mark for his career.  (AP)
Sammy Sosa's ninth homer of the season puts him 17 away from the 600 mark for his career. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

S. Sosa
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Baltimore

S. Ponson
IP 7.0
H 9
ER 2
BB 0
K 6
 
Colorado Rockies
Eddy Garabito, 2B5122012 .410
Garrett Atkins, 3B4000003 .291
Todd Helton, 1B4020010 .258
Preston Wilson, CF3000022 .264
    Cory Sullivan, CF1000010 .303
Jorge Piedra, LF3000112 .429
Ryan Shealy, DH4020012 .313
Dustan Mohr, RF4000012 .189
Luis Gonzalez, SS3120100 .263
Danny Ardoin, C3010023 .261
   a- Tim Olson, PH1000011 .000
Totals3529221117 
a-struck out for Ardoin in the 9th
Batting
2B - Todd Helton 2 (17, Ponson, Ponson), Luis Gonzalez (7, Ponson)
HR - Eddy Garabito (1, Ponson)
RBI - Eddy Garabito 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Eddy Garabito 2 (3)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Garabito-Gonzalez-Helton, Garabito-Gonzalez-Helton
E - Luis Gonzalez (1, Wild throw)
Colorado Rockies
Byung-Hyun Kim (L,1-6) 3.1966112 6.65
Marcos Carvajal 3.2311050 4.28
Matt Anderson 1100110 9.45
Pitches-Strikes - Byung-Hyun Kim 63-42, Marcos Carvajal 56-36, Matt Anderson 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Byung-Hyun Kim 4-4, Marcos Carvajal 3-2
Batters Faced - Byung-Hyun Kim 19, Marcos Carvajal 13, Matt Anderson 5
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B3012000 .359
    Chris Gomez, 2B2010002 .365
Melvin Mora, 3B4010012 .309
Miguel Tejada, SS4111010 .320
Sammy Sosa, RF4221011 .262
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B4121000 .261
Jay Gibbons, DH4120001 .278
B.J. Surhoff, LF4111012 .290
Sal Fasano, C4111021 .271
Larry Bigbie, CF2010210 .282
Totals357137279 
Batting
2B - Melvin Mora (17, Kim), Sammy Sosa (10, Carvajal), Jay Gibbons (19, Kim)
HR - Miguel Tejada (19, Kim), Sammy Sosa (9, Kim)
RBI - Brian Roberts 2 (39), Miguel Tejada (55), Sammy Sosa (25), Rafael Palmeiro (31), B.J. Surhoff (19), Sal Fasano (8)
CS - Larry Bigbie (2, 2nd base by Kim/Ardoin)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - B. Roberts-Tejada-Palmeiro
Baltimore Orioles
Sidney Ponson (W,7-4) 7922061 5.13
Jorge Julio 1000130 3.15
Christopher Ray 1000120 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Sidney Ponson 106-72, Jorge Julio 19-11, Christopher Ray 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sidney Ponson 10-4
Batters Faced - Sidney Ponson 29, Jorge Julio 4, Christopher Ray 4
Game Information
Attendance - 43067
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Lance Barksdale