Boston (2-3) at Texas (2-3)

Sunny Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 90° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Apr 8, 2007
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It took a few games, but Sammy Sosa’s power stroke is back, and so is the offense of the Texas Rangers.

Sosa looks to lead the Rangers to a three-game sweep Sunday night when they face Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox.

Sosa, who owns three of the six highest single-season home run totals in major league history but was out of baseball in 2006, hit his first homer since 2005 in Saturday night’s 8-4 Texas victory. The two-run shot in the sixth inning off Boston reliever J.C. Romero was the 589th of Sosa’s career.

It was also the former NL MVP’s first home run at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the 43rd major league park where he homered, tying Ken Griffey Jr. and Fred McGriff for the all-time record.

“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 homer was part of the first impressive night of offense this season for the Rangers (2-3), who have ranked in the top eight in the majors in runs scored for six straight seasons. The eight runs were just one fewer than Texas managed in the first four games, and the Rangers rapped out 14 hits—just four fewer than the 18 total they’d had prior to Saturday night.

In order to complete their first sweep of the Red Sox (2-3) since May 2004, the Rangers will need to overcome Schilling (0-1, 11.25 ERA), who is 4-0 with a 3.33 ERA in four appearances—three starts—against Texas since joining the Red Sox three seasons ago.

The 40-year-old right-hander is also 19-8 in his career when pitching after a Red Sox loss.

Schilling had a rough outing on Monday, giving up five runs and eight hits in four innings of a 7-1 opening-day loss at Kansas City. It was his shortest outing in a decade, and he also walked in a run with the bases loaded for the first time since Aug. 7, 2005.

Despite the poor showing, the Red Sox still have faith in their ace.

“For him, he’s so pinpoint,” Boston third baseman Mike Lowell told the team’s official Web site. “I’m not really too worried about his location for the season. He’ll be fine. I would have bet my house he wouldn’t walk a guy with the bases loaded, but it happens.”

Sosa has plenty of experience facing Schilling from their days in the National League. He is a .327 (17-for-52) lifetime hitter versus Schilling with seven homers and 21 strikeouts. The homers are tied for Sosa’s most against any pitcher, but the strikeouts are his third-most against any hurler.

Rangers left fielder Frank Catalanotto, who did not play Saturday, has had greater success versus Schilling, going 10-for-19 (.526) with four doubles.

Like Schilling, Texas starter Vicente Padilla (0-1, 11.57) is also trying to bounce back from a lackluster season debut. The right-hander lasted just 4 2-3 innings Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels, giving up six runs, nine hits and three walks as the Rangers fell 8-3.

Padilla is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in four appearances, including three starts, against the Red Sox.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Schilling Bos vs. V. Padilla Bos
9-8 Record 6-10
3.87 ERA 5.76
101 K 71
23 BB 50
1.25 WHIP 1.63

Scoreboard

Sunday, Apr 8