Sosa's 595th HR helps Rangers beat Jays

4-27-07 -- A new-look lineup paid immediate dividends for the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Sammy Sosa hit his 595th career home run, Mark Teixeira and Brad Wilkerson both had two-run shots and the Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3.

Sosa followed Teixeira's two-run drive in the third with a shot to center against Blue Jays starter Josh Towers. It was the seventh home run of the season for Sosa and his first hit in 11 career at-bats against Towers.

"Like I always say, Sammy has got knowledge," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He remembers what you did to him.

"He came out of spring training and he made adjustments. He still was a little bit off on the breaking ball but the more they throw it to him, the more he's going to lay off it. And the more they try something early in the game, it ain't going to work on him late. He's a good student, he really is."

Washington doesn't want to put too much pressure on Sosa to produce.

"If he gets 20 to 25 (home runs), that's fine with me," Washington said. "I'm not looking for Sammy to pop 30 or 40."

But Sosa's early season surge may force Washington to revise his prediction.

"He said that before I was doing things in spring training," Sosa said. "Now I'm going through the season and making adjustments every day, his mind has got to change."

Sosa is within five of becoming the fifth player in major league history to hit 600 or more home runs. He homered twice at Cleveland on Thursday, giving him home runs in a major league-record 44 stadiums.

"The numbers are going to be there," Sosa said. "I'm not really thinking about that. I'm just trying to play every day, trying to fight for my at bats."

Teixeira and Sosa combined for the Rangers' first back-to-back home runs of the season.

Texas scored all of its runs in the third. Ian Kinsler led off with a single and scored on Wilkerson's third homer.

"You can't give up five-run innings," Towers said. "It's really hard to bounce back from that."

Akinori Otsuka struck out the side in the ninth for his third save in as many chances.

The Rangers entered play Friday batting just .234, third-lowest in the major leagues. Washington responded by shaking up the batting order, moving Michael Young to second, Teixeira to third and Sosa to fourth for the first time this season. Hank Blalock batted fifth, just the third time this year he's batted in that spot.

"It doesn't hurt to switch the lineup up when the team is struggling as bad as we have been," Teixeira said. "It can only be a positive when you switch it up like that. Whatever we can do to get our offense going, to give it a jump start, we're going to try it."

Washington sensed that the switches led to an improved attitude among his batters.

"It was like kids in a candy store," he said.

Robinson Tejeda (3-1) gave up three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for Texas. He struck out seven and walked one.

"This kid has the stuff to be a pretty good starter in the major leagues," Washington said. "At some point, if he continues to progress the way he is, he's going to move out of that fourth slot and start pushing his way towards the top."

Toronto's Lyle Overbay hit a solo home run in the fifth, his second, and rookie Adam Lind hit a two-run shot in the sixth, his first, but the Blue Jays still lost for the first time in four games.

Towers (1-3) gave up five runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings. He walked none and struck out a season-high seven.


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