Rangers 11, Astros 3
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Slammin’ Sammy already has more than 600 home runs.
Sosa, who has insisted since returning from a yearlong absence that he was back for more than that milestone, hit career homer No. 601 and had a two-run single in the same inning Friday night to help power the Texas Rangers to an 11-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
“I’m not going to stop, I told you,” Sosa said before rushing out of the clubhouse to beat the crowd staying for postgame fireworks. “I’m going to keep continuing what I’m doing now.”
Sosa’s homer was the first of three Texas hit during an eight-run outburst in the fifth inning.
It was Sosa’s first game since joining Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in the 600-homer club Wednesday night. He got the day off Thursday, then went 2-for-3 with two walks against the Astros.
“I’m not just going to be happy because I reached that mark,” said Sosa, the 38-year-old slugger who has 13 homers this season and is tied for fifth in the American League with 57 RBIs.
The Rangers sent 13 batters to the plate while matching their highest-scoring inning of the season. Sosa’s two-run homer started the scoring in the fifth and a two-run single in his second at-bat of the frame capped it as Texas won its third straight game.
“He seems to get RBIs,” Rangers manager Ron Washington. “That was a beautiful stroke to right field when he hit the home run too, but he went up top and got that fastball up and away (for the single), he just smells RBIs. When they’re there, he picks them up.”
Kevin Millwood (4-6) won his second straight start after going seven games without a victory since April 13 with two stints on the disabled list.
“I felt better,” Millwood said. “I’m definitely not exactly where I want to be, but I seem to be closer and closer every time.”
Millwood allowed three runs and nine hits over six innings, struck out two and walked none.
Biggio scored on a fifth-inning double by rookie Hunter Pence, playing his first big league game in his hometown where he played for Arlington High and UT-Arlington. Pence’s hit bounced against the left-center wall near a sign that read “Welcome Home Hunter.”
Michael Young led off the Texas fifth with a single before Sosa’s homer inside the right-field pole. Marlon Byrd followed with a 449-foot drive, the third straight game the Rangers had back-to-back homers, to chase Woody Williams (3-10).
“Sammy’s a better hitter now than he’s ever been,” Williams said. “I don’t know if he’s just hot, but I’ve never seen him with this kind of approach.”
Sosa has three homers over his past six games after going 17 games without one.
Reliever Stephen Randolph walked the first batter he faced and Brad Wilkerson snapped a 2-for-23 slump with a two-run homer, his eighth of the season. Young drew a bases-loaded walk before Sosa’s sharp single to right.
“I’m happy for (Sosa). I’m glad he got 600. I don’t mind him getting more home runs. I just wish he’d do it when we leave town,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “I’ve always enjoyed watching Sammy play. He’s a good, hustling ballplayer, he’s had a great rapport with the fans.”
Williams allowed five runs and seven hits in four-plus innings with four walks, including three straight batters in the third when Texas failed to score. Randolph gave up five runs and four hits with four walks in two innings.
The Rangers have won three of the first four games in the Lone Star Series that determines who gets the 2 1/2 -foot tall Silver Boot Trophy. Texas is 10-6 in interleague play this season, matching its most wins against NL teams in a season.
Lance Berkman, the only player who has appeared in all 40 Lone Star Series games, put the Astros up 1-0 with a solo homer in the first, his ninth of the season to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Berkman’s RBI single in the fifth put the Astros up 3-2.
Lamb picked up his seventh multihit game during an eight-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .563 (18-for-32). … Astros manager Phil Garner said Biggio will not play Saturday. … Texas also scored eight runs in the fifth inning against Minnesota on May 21. … The last three-homer inning for the Rangers was April 27 at Toronto, when Sosa, Wilkerson and Mark Teixeira went deep.