Rangers mop up Beckett, Red Sox

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BOSTON (AP) – Sammy Sosa hit his 602nd career homer to break a fifth-inning tie, leading the Texas Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night and spoiling Josh Beckett’s last start before the All-Star rosters are announced.

One day after striking out with the bases loaded in the Rangers’ 2-1 loss, Sosa lined a solo shot off the front row of the Monster Seats to break a 4-4 tie. That deprived Beckett (11-2) of a chance to match C.C. Sabathia as the only 12-game winners in the majors.

Beckett gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings. He coughed up a 4-0 lead by allowing four runs in the fourth, including a two-run double by Brad Wilkerson that was a rude welcome for Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in his major league debut.

Ron Mahay (1-0) earned the victory with two innings of scoreless relief after starter Robinson Tejada failed to make it through five innings for the third time in four starts. Mahay struck out two, walked one and allowed one hit. Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

Frank Catalanotto had three hits for the Rangers, who had lost five straight against the Red Sox.

Boston scored two in the first and another two in the second, when Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run shot over the Green Monster. It was Youkilis’ first homer in a month, a span of 91 at-bats.

Alex Cora doubled and tripled for Boston, which wrapped up its first sub-.500 month (13-14) of the season. Ellsbury, the 2005 first-round draft choice who was called up from Triple-A to fill in for an ailing Coco Crisp, legged out an infield single in the third for his first major league hit.

The hustle earned a standing ovation for Ellsbury, who according to the Red Sox is the first American Indian of Navajo descent to play in the majors. But it didn’t all go smoothly for the 23-year-old rookie.

Ellsbury nubbed one in front of the plate in the second inning and was tagged out by catcher Gerald Laird without leaving the batter’s box. And in the fourth, he went back on Wilkerson’s line drive only to have it go over his head and bounce past him back toward the infield.

Notes: Rangers RHP Brandon McCarthy (blister) is scheduled to be activated from the 15-day disabled list and start Monday against the Red Sox. … Vicente Padilla, who’s on the disabled list with a right triceps injury, is expected to resume throwing when the Rangers get home next week. … Boston RHP Joel Pineiro was placed on the 15-day DL with a sprained right ankle. … Crisp was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game with a sore thumb. … Ayla, a monkey trained to assist the disabled in everyday tasks, took part in the first-pitch ceremony. … Peter Rometti was helped out by the crowd when he struggled with the lyrics to the national anthem. … Beckett is the 365th different pitcher to give up one of Sosa’s homers.

AP-ES-06-30-07 2230EDT

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