ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A week without a home run raised
questions Sammy Sosa knew he'd eventually answer with his bat.
"It's only seven games into the season. A lot of people have
been asking so many questions," Sosa said.
"You have to remember, not every time I go up I'm going to hit
a home run. My game plan is to go up there and do the best that I
can. I know myself. I'm going to do that. Right now, we're playing
good baseball. I'm more happy that we won than (with) the home run
Sosa's solo shot off Scott Kazmir in the third inning was
greeted by polite applause from a small crowd of 10,563, which
included hundreds who arrived early to watch the former Chicago
Cubs star take batting practice for the first time at Tropicana
After narrowly missing down the right field line in his first
at-bat, Sosa delivered his first American League homer since Sept.
8, 1991, on a 2-2 pitch from Kazmir, the 347th pitcher to surrender
a home run to the 36-year-old slugger.
"I got ahead of him with a couple of fastballs, and then I
tried to get the slider in the dirt. It didn't quite get there,"
Kazmir said. "It stayed kind of knee high, inside corner. It's a
good spot for most righties. He didn't miss it."
Sosa, who has homered in 41 different major league parks, had
last connected in the AL off Kevin Brown, while playing for the
Chicago White Sox at Texas. It was the 29th of his career, and the
last he hit before moving to the Cubs in 1992.
The one-time NL MVP entered the game hitting just .200
(5-for-25) in six games. In addition to his 406-foot homer to left
field, Sosa tripled and scored a run in the fifth before finishing
"It kind of gets the monkey off your back," Orioles manager
Lee Mazzilli said. "You knew it was going to happen. Just a matter
Brian Roberts also homered. The two-run shot off Kazmir put
Baltimore ahead 4-3 in the fourth inning and gave the Orioles'
leadoff man four in his first 28 at-bats. He had four in 641
at-bats all of last year.
B.J. Ryan got four outs for Baltimore, earning his first save
after giving up a triple and walk to begin the ninth. The
left-hander struck out Travis Lee and Jorge Cantu before retiring
pinch-hitter Eduardo Perez on a routine fly to left to end the
"You just have to put the ball in play, especially with no
outs," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "You do, and you get
a chance to play on."
Todd Williams (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
The Devil Rays also scored twice off Baltimore starter Daniel
Cabrera in the fourth when Carl Crawford's long flyball with the
bases loaded glanced off Luis Matos' glove for an error as the
Orioles center fielder crossed in front of Sosa, who was positioned
to make the catch in deep right-center.
Two runs scored on the play, giving the Devil Rays a short-lived
Sosa opened the Baltimore fifth with a triple that bounced over
Gathright's head in center field and rolled to the wall. He trotted
home, making it 5-5, on Javy Lopez's sacrifice fly.
Kazmir allowed five runs -- four earned -- in five innings. The
21-year-old left-hander walked three and struck out two.
Cabrera also gave up five runs -- four earned -- in five innings.
He walked three and struck out five.
The Devil Rays pulled to 7-6 on Alex Gonzalez's RBI single
off Jorge Julio in the eighth. ... Sosa's 44th career triple was
his first since April 16, 2002, for the Cubs at Montreal. ...
Rafael Palmeiro singled for his 2,929th hit, moving within one of
Rogers Hrnsby for 31st on baseball's all-time list. ... Devil Rays
OF Alex Sanchez, serving a 10-day suspension for violating
baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs, worked out
with teammates before the game. He's eligible to be activated on