Sosa’s homer keys big inning, Rangers clip A’s 12-9
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Sammy Sosa has mostly watched his Texas teammates run off a hot streak the past two weeks.
On Sunday, the slugger made the most of his chance to contribute to it.
Sosa hit a three-run homer to cap an eight-run second inning, then drove in another run as the Rangers held off the Oakland Athletics 12-9 to complete a three-game sweep.
Sosa’s 607th career homer and 19th of the season came on the second pitch he saw from Oakland reliever Colby Lewis. The shot, estimated at 442 feet, landed in the second deck above a left field scoreboard.
Sosa had only one at-bat and no starts in September coming into the game. The Rangers have won five straight and 12 of 14 to move into a tie for third place with the A’s in the AL West.
Texas had been in last place since April 25.
“We just want to take care of business,” said Sosa, who has lost playing time in favor of youngsters Jason Botts and Nelson Cruz. “We got a good chemistry here around the clubhouse. We need to stay focused.”
Bill White (1-0) allowed a run in two innings of relief to earn his first career win in a game that ended more than five hours after it started and included two rain delays.
“It was a long, strange game,” Sosa said. “But we still wanted to go out there and play good.”
Nick Swisher had two homers, his second a solo shot that got Oakland within 12-9 in the ninth, as the slumping A’s lost for the 11th time in 15 games.
The A’s were eight games over .500 in mid-June. But they slipped to six games under on Sunday and are in danger of having their first losing season since 1998.
“This has been a tough series,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “(Texas) is playing really well right now.”
After Sosa’s RBI single made it 9-3 in the sixth, the A’s scored five times in the seventh. Kevin Thompson and Jack Hannahan had RBI singles before Mark Ellis’ 3-run double. Wes Littleton then retired Dan Johnson on a grounder to protect the lead.
Jerry Hairston drove in three runs and gave the Rangers an 11-8 cushion with a two-run single in the seventh. Michael Young followed with another run-scoring single.
Oakland starter Lenny DiNardo (8-9) allowed seven runs—only three of which were earned—in 1 2-3 innings to fall to 0-3 in his last four starts. He was relieved by Lewis just before Sosa’s homer.
The start of the game was delayed 16 minutes by rain. The teams got through the first inning before another storm blew through that triggered a one-hour, 13-minute delay.
Along with the poor weather, there was also sloppy play on the field. Francisco and reliever Scott Feldman combined to walk eight batters in 2 2-3 innings, and the Rangers committed three errors—two of which came during Oakland’s big seventh inning.
The A’s couldn’t capitalize, leaving the bases loaded in the second, third and fourth innings.
There were 425 pitches in the game.
“It was just a weird game and a weird day all around,” Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “I’ve never seen anything like it and I probably never will.”
Jeff DaVannon’s bases-loaded walk gave the A’s a 1-0 lead, but Texas greeted DiNardo with four straight singles, including RBI hits from Botts and Cruz.
DiNardo recorded two outs before things unraveled. He walked Kinsler and Hairston to force in another run, and shortstop Donnie Murphy threw wildly to first on a routine grounder to bring in two more runs.
Lewis then became the 368th pitcher Sosa has homered off in his career.
“He’s like an RBI machine,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He smells them and picks them up.”
Swisher had a sacrifice fly in the third and homered in the sixth.
Millwood’s 1 1-3 innings represented his shortest outing since May 9, 2006, when he allowed nine hits and nine runs against the Minnesota Twins. … Ellis was 3-for-5 and is hitting .457 (21-of-46) against Texas this season. … Feldman injured his right knee covering first base on a grounder and left the game in the fifth. His status is day-to-day.