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Sosa hits first homer since 2005 as Rangers cruise past Red Sox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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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."

The first homer in Sosa's comeback, and the 589th of his career, came in the Rangers' 8-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

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."

Texas had gone ahead to stay with four runs in the third, when Sosa singled and scored the final run on a two-run single by Nelson Cruz off Julian Tavarez (0-1).

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."

Michael Young tied it at 2 in the third with a hit to right field that rolled under the glove of J.D. Drew and into the corner.

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.

Notes

  • When the game began, it was 38 degrees -- the Rangers' coldest home game since Rangers Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994. It was 37 degrees in Boston at the same time.
  • Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler missed the game because of a stomach flu.
  • The announced crowd was 40,865, but there were a lot of empty seats because of the unseasonably frigid conditions.
 
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 gets right back into the swing of things with a single and a two-run home run.  (AP)
Sammy Sosa gets right back into the swing of things with a single and a two-run home run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Texas

S. Sosa
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Boston

J. Lugo
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Boston Red Sox
Julio Lugo, SS5121021 .300
Kevin Youkilis, 1B3120101 .263
    Eric Hinske, 1B10100001.000
David Ortiz, DH4010105 .158
Manny Ramirez, LF5011022 .263
J.D. Drew, RF5121003 .368
Mike Lowell, 3B3010103 .263
Jason Varitek, C3011102 .143
Coco Crisp, CF4100003 .118
Dustin Pedroia, 2B3000112 .313
Totals36411455  
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Pedroia-Lugo-Hinske
PB - Jason Varitek (1)
E - J.D. Drew (1, Misplayed grounder)
Boston Red Sox
Julian Tavarez (L,0-1) 4644530 9.00
Javier Lopez 1100100 0.00
Kyle Snyder 0.1111000 3.86
J.C. Romero0533001 10.13
Brendan Donnelly 0.2000100 0.00
Hideki Okajima 1000000 2.25
Joel Pineiro 1100010 3.86
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
Texas Rangers
Kenny Lofton, CF5000015 .100
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B4220103 .500
Michael Young, SS5111002 .136
Mark Teixeira, 1B4221100 .267
Sammy Sosa, DH5222012 .267
Hank Blalock, 3B4130112 .333
Brad Wilkerson, LF4020112 .250
Nelson Cruz, RF4023102 .231
Gerald Laird, C2000205 .200
Totals37814774  
Batting
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
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Brad Wilkerson 1
DP - Teixeira-Young
Texas Rangers
Kevin Millwood (W,1-1) 6833330 4.91
Kameron Loe 0.1211100 6.75
Ron Mahay (H,1) 1.2000110 0.00
Joaquin Benoit 1100010 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
Game Information
Attendance - 40865
Game Time - 3:28
Temperature - 38
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Rob Drake