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Sosa sets homer mark, but Indians mash Rangers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Sammy Sosa is "Slammin' Sammy" once again.

Sosa hit two homers to reach 594 for his career, but Paul Byrd and the Cleveland Indians beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 Thursday for their fifth straight win.

Sosa's 439-foot drive leading off the sixth inning against Byrd (2-1) made Jacobs Field the 44th major league ballpark in which he has homered. That broke a tie with Ken Griffey Jr. and Fred McGriff for the most in a big league career.

"It's nice to have that record, but if we had won I would have enjoyed it more," Sosa said.

He obtained the record-setting ball by signing two baseballs for the fan who got it in the left-field bleachers.

Sosa has six homers and 18 RBI, but he's hitting only .239 in 19 games since sitting out all of 2006. He said he still hasn't got his timing back after the long layoff.

"The more I play, the more adjustments I can make," he said. "If you talk about getting hot, I'm not there yet. "

Byrd was wary of pitching to Sosa with or without runners on base.

"You still don't want to elevate a fastball to him," Byrd said. "On the homer, I was trying to go inside, left it up and away and knew where it was headed as soon as he swung."

The only stadiums currently in use that the 38-year-old outfielder has not hit a homer in are RFK Stadium in Washington and the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Sosa went deep again in the eighth against Tom Mastny to move closer to joining Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in the 600 homers club. It was his 69th career multihomer game.

Byrd left after yielding a leadoff single in the seventh to Gerald Laird. The right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits, walked one and struck out three. The Rangers twice put a runner at third base with none out and failed to score against Byrd.

Texas loaded the bases in the first, but left fielder Shin-Soo Choo caught a fly ball from Mark Teixeira and made a perfect no-hop throw to get Kenny Lofton trying to tag up from third. Sosa then grounded out to end the threat.

"That play picked us up," Byrd said. "Three minutes in, I've got the bases loaded and it had disaster written all over it."

Choo said he wasn't really trying to get Lofton and wanted to make a strong, low throw that would keep the other runners from moving up.

"I was very surprised," he said with a wide-eyed look.

Lofton tripled to open the fifth, but Byrd got three quick outs to strand him.

"Pretty soon this has to stop," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his team went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and dropped to 2-9 on the road. "These guys have a track record. You have to believe that pretty soon we'll get it done."

Trot Nixon's two-run homer, his first, capped Cleveland's three-run first off Kameron Loe (1-1).

Choo opened the bottom half of the second with a single and scored on Kelly Shoppach's double. Shoppach later scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.

Hank Blalock doubled and scored in the second and fourth innings and Sosa's first homer of the game cut it to 5-3 in the sixth.

But Cleveland extended its lead in the bottom half on an RBI single by Grady Sizemore and bases-loaded walks by Casey Blake and Travis Hafner. Jhonny Peralta hit his third homer in the seventh to make it 9-3.

Loe allowed seven runs and six hits with three walks over 5 1/3 innings in his second start of the season. The right-hander made five relief appearances before being into the starting rotation when Jamey Wright went on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on April 13.

Notes

  • Rain delayed the start 25 minutes.
  • Lofton got his AL-leading ninth stolen base and was successful in all three of his attempts in the two-game series.
  • Indians 2B Josh Barfield broke an 0-for-19 streak with a bad-hop single in the sixth.
  • Sosa is 5-for-13 (.385) with three homers in his career against Byrd.
 
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 slams two to reach 594 HRs for his career, but the Indians take the 'W.' (AP)
Sammy Sosa slams two to reach 594 HRs for his career, but the Indians take the 'W.' (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

T. Nixon
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Texas

S. Sosa
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
 
Texas Rangers
Kenny Lofton, CF3020101 .286
    Jerry Hairston Jr., CF1000002 .292
Frank Catalanotto, LF5000015 .154
Michael Young, SS4010013 .191
    Matt Kata, SS1000002 .263
Mark Teixeira, 1B4000012 .213
Sammy Sosa, DH4222002 .239
Hank Blalock, 3B4220010 .257
Ian Kinsler, 2B3011000 .333
Brad Wilkerson, RF3001101 .205
Gerald Laird, C4020011 .140
Totals36410425  
Batting
2B - Hank Blalock 2 (5, Byrd, Byrd), Ian Kinsler (4, Byrd)
3B - Kenny Lofton (1, Byrd)
HR - Sammy Sosa 2 (6, Byrd, Mastny)
SH - Ian Kinsler (1)
RBI - Sammy Sosa 2 (18), Ian Kinsler (20), Brad Wilkerson (7)
SB - Kenny Lofton (9, 2nd base off Byrd/Shoppach)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Blalock-Kata-Teixeira
PB - Gerald Laird 2 (3)
Texas Rangers
Kameron Loe (L,1-1) 5.1676341 5.21
Scott Feldman 0.1211110 4.35
Ron Mahay 1.1111211 3.24
Akinori Otsuka 1000100 0.00
IBB - Hafner by Kameron Loe
Pitches-Strikes - Kameron Loe 95-57, Scott Feldman 16-8, Ron Mahay 37-20, Akinori Otsuka 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kameron Loe 6-6, Ron Mahay 1-2, Akinori Otsuka 2-0
Batters Faced - Kameron Loe 25, Scott Feldman 4, Ron Mahay 7, Akinori Otsuka 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5121002 .257
Casey Blake, 3B2001311 .200
Travis Hafner, DH3001212 .357
Victor Martinez, 1B4101003 .300
Trot Nixon, RF4222000 .292
Jhonny Peralta, SS4111011 .215
Shin-Soo Choo, LF4220020 .385
Kelly Shoppach, C2111212 .269
Josh Barfield, 2B4110003 .125
Totals3299876  
Batting
2B - Kelly Shoppach (3, Loe)
HR - Trot Nixon (1, Loe), Jhonny Peralta (3, Mahay)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (8), Casey Blake (5), Travis Hafner (16), Victor Martinez (14), Trot Nixon 2 (4), Jhonny Peralta (11), Kelly Shoppach (3)
2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore (4), Casey Blake (3), Travis Hafner (3), Trot Nixon 2 (2)
SB - Grady Sizemore (6, 2nd base off Loe/Laird)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Shin-Soo Choo 1
DP - Choo-Shoppach
E - Josh Barfield (4, Throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Paul Byrd (W,2-1) 6833131 3.50
Thomas Mastny 2111011 2.89
Jason Davis 1100110 1.29
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 86-56, Thomas Mastny 33-20, Jason Davis 20-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 5-10, Thomas Mastny 3-2
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 27, Thomas Mastny 7, Jason Davis 5
Game Information
Attendance - 14066
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 56
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Adam Dowdy