LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Sammy Sosa is now three away from his 600th career home run. Sammy Sosa hit his 597th career home run in the fourth inning of the Rangers game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Wednesday. The home run gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead, but it was hard for Sosa to enjoy it afterwards, because the Devil Rays rallied for an 11-8 victory at the Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports. "I'm up there, fighting, every at-bat I can," Sosa said. "Sometimes I come up empty and sometimes I hit a home run. I'm trying the best I can."
Sosa's home run came off of Devil Rays starter Casey Fossum. Sosa came up with one on and one out after Mark Teixeira reached on an infield single. Sosa worked the count 1-1 and then went the other way with a breaking ball, hitting it over the right field wall. "If I had it to do all over again, I might have pounded the ball in with fastballs," Fossum said afterwards in the Devil Rays clubhouse. "I went back and looked at the tape, and I still don't know. He went the other way with the slider, and it just got up in that wind and went right over the fence. I don't know if I would've changed that pitch, but it seemed like when I tried to overdo it, I missed my location." Fossum said he didn't try to do anything unusual with Sosa up at the plate and closing in on history. "Not really," Fossum said. "I know [Sosa] is up there trying to get to 600. I tried not to give him too many fastballs and I was trying to tie him up inside. He was still trying to go the other way with the ball. He was successful." He has been for many years. It was his ninth home run of the season, and it leaves him three away from becoming the fifth player in Major League history to hit 600 home runs in a career. Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays have already reached that plateau. By hitting one out at the Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports, Sosa has now hit a home run in 45 Major League parks. That extends the Major League record that he set earlier this season when he hit a home run at Cleveland's Jacobs Field. Sosa just wishes the Rangers could have celebrated both the home run and a victory at the same time. But they have now lost two straight to the Devil Rays. "You have to remember that we're playing a Major League team," Sosa said. "Tampa Bay has a young team, and they're playing hard. Everything is going well for them. We just have to keep fighting. That's the only way we're going to come out of this."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.