ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sammy Sosa pumped his right fist triumphantly as he rounded first base. He crossed the plate with the fans chanting his name.
While Sosa is no stranger to home run trots, this was his first since 2005.
"It feels great. I fought my way up and I'm here, and I'm doing it," Sosa said. "I feel very happy, very pleased."
Sosa hit the first pitch he got from reliever J.C. Romero in the sixth inning into the left-center field seats for a two-run homer.
"I didn't think I had enough," Sosa said. "I guess I was wrong."
With the chants of "Sammy! Sammy!" getting louder after he rounded the bases, the former NL MVP and seven-time All-Star came out of the dugout for a curtain call, raising his helmet to the fans.
"The kids were real excited on the bench, we were too," said Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who was Sosa's first minor league manager. "He's hard not to like. He brings a lot to the game. He's got something going. I told him it's going to get better as we go. ... He's got a lot of confidence. It's good to see that."
It was Sosa's first at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the 43rd different stadium where he has homered. That tied Ken Griffey Jr. and Fred McGriff for the most stadiums with a homer.
The last homer for Sosa was Aug. 4, 2005, a two-run shot at the Los Angeles Angels during his only season with the Baltimore Orioles.
Sosa's 409-foot drive came in a four-run outburst that put the Rangers up 8-3 right after Kevin Millwood (1-1) escaped the top of the sixth with the tying run on third base.
"It's huge," Millwood said. "For him to get off to a pretty good start and go ahead and get his first one out of the way this year, I think it's going to give him confidence, the players around him confidence and it's going to make other teams sit back and know that he's not going to be an easy out."
When Sosa was a rookie for the Rangers in 1989, they played in a different stadium and his only homer in 25 games was at Boston against Roger Clemens. Sosa was traded that season to the Chicago White Sox.
After sitting out last season, Sosa -- fifth on the career homer list and the only player with three 60-homer seasons -- signed a minor league contract with Texas. He made the team after hitting five homers in 17 games this spring.
"Right now, I'm just trying to get comfortable, get one or two hits a day," said Sosa, who is hitting .267 (4-for-15). "Everything is going to come and take care of itself."
After throwing 50 pitches the first two innings, allowing a run in each, Millwood threw only 54 more pitches and made it through six innings to avoid another 0-2 start in Texas. The right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits.
Tavarez, added to the rotation during the spring after it was announced that Jonathan Papelbon was returning to the closer's role, allowed four runs, six hits and five walks over four innings.
"The game plan was to get quick outs and attack," Tavarez said. "The first two innings I did that. My teammates gave me some support. I wasn't able to hold on and we lost the game."
Young never stopped running and slid headfirst into home, though a replay showed that catcher Jason Varitek may have brushed the runner with his diving, sweeping tag. But Young was ruled safe and credited with an RBI double -- Jerry Hairston, who had walked, scored easily. Drew was charged with a two-base error.
The Rangers then loaded the bases before Cruz had his tiebreaking two-run single.
Hairston led off the sixth with a double and scored a single by Mark Teixeira -- the switch-hitting slugger's first RBI. Sosa then homered before Cruz had another RBI single off Romero, who gave up hits to all five batters he faced.
Drew's RBI single in the first put Boston up 1-0, the fourth time in five games this season Texas allowed a run in the first inning. Julio Lugo had an RBI single before the Red Sox left the bases loaded in the second.
|Sammy Sosa gets right back into the swing of things with a single and a two-run home run. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Julio Lugo, SS||5||1||2||1||0||2||1||.300|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||3||1||2||0||1||0||1||.263|
|Eric Hinske, 1B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||0||1||0||1||0||5||.158|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||5||0||1||1||0||2||2||.263|
|J.D. Drew, RF||5||1||2||1||0||0||3||.368|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||0||3||.263|
|Jason Varitek, C||3||0||1||1||1||0||2||.143|
|Coco Crisp, CF||4||1||0||0||0||0||3||.118|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.313|
|2B - Jason Varitek (1, Millwood)|
|RBI - Julio Lugo (2), Manny Ramirez (2), J.D. Drew (2), Jason Varitek (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Julio Lugo (1), J.D. Drew (2)|
|SB - Coco Crisp (1, 2nd base off Millwood/Laird)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Pedroia-Lugo-Hinske|
|PB - Jason Varitek (1)|
|E - J.D. Drew (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Julian Tavarez (L,0-1)||4||6||4||4||5||3||0||9.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Julian Tavarez 87-51, Javier Lopez 21-12, Kyle Snyder 5-4, J.C. Romero 19-10, Brendan Donnelly 22-12, Hideki Okajima 12-6, Joel Pineiro 13-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Julian Tavarez 6-3, Javier Lopez 2-1, Hideki Okajima 1-2, Joel Pineiro 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Julian Tavarez 23, Javier Lopez 5, Kyle Snyder 2, J.C. Romero 5, Brendan Donnelly 3, Hideki Okajima 3, Joel Pineiro 3|
|Kenny Lofton, CF||5||0||0||0||0||1||5||.100|
|Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B||4||2||2||0||1||0||3||.500|
|Michael Young, SS||5||1||1||1||0||0||2||.136|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||4||2||2||1||1||0||0||.267|
|Sammy Sosa, DH||5||2||2||2||0||1||2||.267|
|Hank Blalock, 3B||4||1||3||0||1||1||2||.333|
|Brad Wilkerson, LF||4||0||2||0||1||1||2||.250|
|Nelson Cruz, RF||4||0||2||3||1||0||2||.231|
|Gerald Laird, C||2||0||0||0||2||0||5||.200|
|2B - Jerry Hairston Jr. (1, Snyder), Michael Young (1, Tavarez)|
|3B - Hank Blalock (1, Lopez)|
|HR - Sammy Sosa (1, Romero)|
|RBI - Michael Young (2), Mark Teixeira (1), Sammy Sosa 2 (3), Nelson Cruz 3 (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Nelson Cruz 2 (2)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|Outfield Assists - Brad Wilkerson 1|
|DP - Teixeira-Young|
|Kevin Millwood (W,1-1)||6||8||3||3||3||3||0||4.91|
|Ron Mahay (H,1)||1.2||0||0||0||1||1||0||0.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Millwood 104-64, Kameron Loe 16-8, Ron Mahay 22-13, Joaquin Benoit 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Millwood 7-6, Ron Mahay 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Kevin Millwood 27, Kameron Loe 4, Ron Mahay 6, Joaquin Benoit 4|
|Attendance - 40865|
|Game Time - 3:28|
|Temperature - 38|
|Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Rob Drake|