Sammy Sosa has won plenty of games during his career with his powerful bat. The Texas Rangers slugger helped win this one with barely a swing.
“Sometimes you don’t have to swing hard to get a hit,” Sosa said.
Sosa blooped an RBI single in the first inning when he was trying to check his swing, pulling his bat back when he made contact, and the Rangers won their home opener 2-0 over the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
“It was perfect,” Sosa said smiling, admitting he initially didn’t realize he had even hit the ball.
“We finally caught a break right there,” rookie manager Ron Washington said.
It was Sosa’s first home game for the Rangers since his rookie season in 1989. After a year out of baseball, he agreed to a minor league deal with Texas and made the team by hitting .408 with five homers in 17 spring games.
Sosa, fifth on the career list with 588 homers, is hitting .200 (2-for-10) with four strikeouts this season, but got his first RBI after going 1-for-3.
“The first couple of games every year, it’s still the same thing, people want to get two hits in one at-bat and want to be the hero every day,” Sosa said. “It’s only a couple of games. Come see me in six months when everything is there. You have to believe in yourself, no panic.”
In other AL games, it was: Baltimore 6, New York 4; Tampa Bay 6, Toronto 5; Kansas City 3, Detroit 1; and Los Angeles 5, Oakland 2.
Minnesota’s game at Chicago was postponed because of cold weather, and Seattle’s game at Cleveland was postponed because of snow with the Indians leading 4-0 with two outs in the top of the fifth inning – one strike from being an official game.
At Arlington, Texas, Washington earned his first victory after the Rangers were swept in a season-opening three-game series at Los Angeles.
Robinson Tejeda (1-0) allowed two hits, one of them an infield single, over seven shutout innings. Akinori Otsuka worked the ninth for the save.
The Rangers scored runs in the first two innings off Tim Wakefield (0-1), who gave up three hits over six innings.
“It’s one of those days where the guy on the other side pitched really good. After the first two innings, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I felt like I settled down after that,” Wakefield said. “I pitched well, we just didn’t win.”
Orioles 6, Yankees 4
Mike Mussina was roughed up in his season debut and Baltimore’s revamped bullpen succeeded in its first chance to protect a late lead, helping the visiting Orioles to their first victory.
Adam Loewen (1-0) held New York’s powerful lineup in check, Melvin Mora played an outstanding all-around game and Baltimore avoided opening 0-4 for the first time since the 1988 team lost its first 21 games. Chris Ray pitched the ninth to get his first save.
Robinson Cano drove in two runs for New York, which dropped its second straight since an opening-day victory over Tampa Bay. Derek Jeter came out in the ninth after hobbling around the bases earlier in the game.
Looking for his 240th career win on a 41-degree night, Mussina (0-1) threw 84 pitches in four innings against his former team. He gave up six runs and eight hits – including four doubles.
Royals 3, Tigers 1
At Kansas City. Tony Pena Jr.’s third triple in four games keyed a two-run seventh for the Royals.
Justin Verlander, who came in with a 3-0 career record and a 0.86 ERA against Kansas City, went six innings and gave up only two hits and one unearned run. He was replaced starting the seventh by Jose Mesa (0-1), and the 17-year veteran gave up a leadoff double to Jason LaRue, Pena’s RBI triple and an RBI single to David DeJesus.
Jorge De La Rosa (1-0) went a career-high seven innings in his first start of the year, and David Riske pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
Devil Rays 6, Blue Jays 5
Akinori Iwamura hit his first major league homer and sprinted home from third base on B.J. Upton’s infield single with two outs in the ninth to help Tampa Bay win its home opener.
Delmon Young erased a 5-3 deficit with a two-run homer off B.J. Ryan (0-1) in the ninth, then Iwamura laid down a bunt single to finish 4-for-4 and set the stage for an exciting finish.
Jae Kuk Ryu (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the victory before a crowd of 38,437, the fifth home sellout in Tampa Bay’s 10-season history.
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