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05/12/07 12:50 AM ET
Slammin' Sammy blasts No. 596
Rangers outfielder hits first homer since April 27
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The march toward 600 resumed on Friday night.
Sammy Sosa hit his first home run in two weeks when he slammed a fastball from John Lackey over the left-field wall in the Rangers' 6-3 loss to the Angels.
The home run was Sosa's 596th home run of his career, leaving him four away from being the fifth player in Major League history to reach 600. He only trails Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.
"It's quite amazing," manager Ron Washington said. "That's a lot of home runs. People say Sammy is not the Sammy of old, but that's a lot of home runs. You can take [batting practice] forever and not hit 600 home runs out."
Sosa's last home run had come on April 27 against the Toronto Blue Jays. He had to wait two full weeks for No. 596, but he is also hitting .325 in the last two weeks, including .368 with runners in scoring position.
"I didn't come here to Texas to have people expect me to hit a home run in every game," Sosa said. "I'm trying to do the best I can and contribute any way I can. That's the player that I am.
"I was hitting .180 or .190, but now I'm up to [.278]. There are more things that people can give me credit for than trying to go deep in every at-bat."
Much of the night belonged to Lackey, who took a two-hit shutout into the ninth. Sosa struck out against him in the first, popped out in the fourth and walked in the seventh.
But he got one more shot in the ninth after Kenny Lofton singled and scored on Michael Young's double. Mark Teixeira grounded out and up came Sosa with one out.
"Lackey was pitching great," Sosa said. "He was dealing. He was throwing me fastballs and I got one."
It was his first home run off Lackey and now he has gone deep against 361 different pitchers in his career. Curt Schilling and Jose Lima have given up seven, tied for the most. Schilling will be here with the Boston Red Sox later this month.
Sosa needs four more, no matter who they are against.