BALTIMORE (AP) -- Sammy Sosa was doing a little dance in front of
his locker as the crowd around him began to grow. He stepped back
from the TV cameras and microphones to turn down the volume of the
pulsating salsa music on his personal DVD player.
"I don't want to get released," he said, flashing his
There's no danger of that happening anytime soon in Baltimore,
where Sosa received a hero's welcome before getting two hits Monday
in the Orioles' 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Making his debut with the Orioles after being traded from the
Cubs in February, Sosa singled in his first two at-bats and went
2-for-4. He didn't score or drive in a run, but his presence
delighted the crowd of 48,271 -- largest on Opening Day in the
13-year history of Camden Yards.
"Sammy, he's a special player," Baltimore first baseman Rafael
Palmeiro said. "You can see by the reaction of the fans,
especially out in right field. They embraced him like he's been
here for a long time."
Sosa is trying to bounce back from a bitter season in Chicago,
where he slumped to .253 with 35 homers and fell out of favor with
the organization and fans. He also annoyed some of his teammates
with a boom box that often played earsplitting music.
In Baltimore, however, the slugger appears to be an ideal fit.
"I feel comfortable. I just feel that it is my house, like I've
been here before," he said. "I prepared for this moment. The
support I get from the fans today was incredible. On top of that,
we played a good game."
The Orioles beat nemesis Barry Zito, who was 2-1 with an 0.63
ERA in four career starts in Baltimore. Making his first opening
day start, the left-hander allowed four runs and six hits in six
"Barry had a couple of walks that scored on him. That kind of
hurt him, and he hung a curveball [to Matos]," A's manager Ken
Macha said. "Besides that, I thought he was good."
Lopez scattered seven hits, leading Baltimore past the A's for
the first time since 2003. Oakland was 7-0 against the Orioles last
"He threw strikes, he kept the ball down. He changed speeds,"
Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He's a gutty guy."
Sosa received a warm ovation from the fans in the bleachers when
he sprinted to right field in the top of the first.
"My teammates asked me if I was going to go out there and run,
and I said yes," Sosa said. "This is my way to do it, everywhere
I go. Today I had a chance to do that and the fans welcomed me. It
made me very, very proud."
The fans cheered even louder in the bottom of the first when
Sosa lined a single to left-center in his first at-bat with
"I think we all got goose-bumps there," Mazzilli said.
The hit put runners on the corners with two outs before Zito
retired Palmeiro on a fly ball.
Matos put the Orioles up 2-0 in the second, driving a 1-2
curveball over the center-field wall after Jay Gibbons walked.
Matos was 1-for-14 lifetime against Zito before connecting.
In the third, Miguel Tejada drew a one-out walk, went to third
on a single by Sosa and scored on a sacrifice fly by Palmeiro. The
inning ended when Sosa was thrown out at home by shortstop Bobby
Crosby, who recovered nicely after bobbling a grounder.
A two-out RBI double by Melvin Mora made it 4-0 in the fourth.
Oakland put two runners on in the second through fifth innings
and Marco Scutaro hit a one-out double in the sixth, but Lopez
worked out of trouble on each occasion.
Oakland stranded 10 runners and went 0-for-6 with runners in
"We did have some opportunities," Macha said, "but we didn't
get the big hit."
Crosby was 0-for-23 lifetime against Baltimore before
getting an infield hit in the second. He left with upper back pain
in the fifth and was replaced by Scutaro. ... Baltimore C Javy
Lopez was replaced in the seventh after experiencing back pain. ...
Oakland had won three straight openers and seven of eight.
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