Sosa's 2 homers can't stop Indians

By: From Wire Reports
By: From Wire Reports

CLEVELAND - Sammy 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 into the left-field seats leading off the sixth inning off 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.

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

Sosa hit his sixth of the season 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.

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

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.


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