Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

Interleague Roundup: Ripken rips pair

Orioles legend a hit with Braves fans

July 15, 2001

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— Cal Ripken knows how to say goodbye.

The retiring Orioles star homered twice in his final regular-season game at Turner Field, getting a standing ovation each time from Atlanta Braves fans even though he gave Baltimore a 4-1 victory over the home team Saturday night.

"This is another great baseball moment I'll remember," he said.

Ripken hit a two-run homer in the sixth against fellow All-Star John Burkett, breaking a 1-1 tie and extending Ripken's hitting streak to 15 games his longest since a 17-gamer in 1992.

Leading off the eighth, Ripken homered again on a 1-2 pitch from Steve Reed, the ball landing in nearly the same spot in the left-field seats.

Both times, Ripken emerged briefly from the dugout to acknowledge lengthy ovations from fans twirling white towels and holding up signs such as, "Cal, You're Our Iron Man."

"It's a strange sensation," Ripken said. "It seems like something is not quite right. You're sitting in the visiting dugout, competing against the other team, knowing it's their fans. It feels like a disturbance of the game. I tried to do it as fast as I could."

The Braves didn't mind the fans showing their appreciation for another team's player.

"They reserve that for people like Ripken," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "That was nice of the fans. It didn't hurt our feelings."

The multihomer game the 20th of Ripken's career and first since he homered twice against Anaheim on July 24, 1999 came just four days after a homer in his final All-Star game, which earned him the MVP award.

"I'm enjoying baseball right now," he said. "It's a very festive atmosphere, the way it should be."

Ripken has played only nine games at Turner Field, but it has to be one of his favorite parks. On June 13, 1999, he went 6-for-6 with two homers, six RBIs and 13 total bases against Atlanta.

"I wish I could tell you what it is," he said. "I've felt good about myself the last couple of weeks. I'm swinging the bat pretty good."

The 40-year-old Ripken was honored by the Braves before Thursday's opener of the three-game interleague series. He didn't start Friday but came on as a pinch hitter for only the sixth time in his career. Naturally, he rose to the occasion with a double.

On Saturday, Ripken was nearly mobbed by autograph seekers before the game. Each time he came to the plate, he was greeted with loud cheers from the sellout crowd of 50,069 second-largest of the season at Turner Field and thousands of flashbulbs.

Ripken walked in the second and popped out in the fourth. He came up again in the sixth after Tony Batista opened the inning by reaching first on catcher Javy Lopez's throwing error.

Cardinals 3, Tigers 2

St. Louis Mark McGwire passed Reggie Jackson for sixth place on the career home run list, and Matt Morris tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in St. Louis' victory over Detroit. McGwire, who entered the game in a 3-for-45 slump, has now connected twice in the last three games. He hit a 1-1 fastball from Jose Lima (1-1) over the left-field wall leading of the second inning for his 10th homer this season and No. 564 of his career, leaving McGwire nine behind fifth-place Harmon Killebrew.

Expos 10, Devil Rays 2

Montreal Jose Vidro and Vladimir Guerrero homered in consecutive at-bats for the second straight game, and Geoff Blum had four RBIs to lead Montreal. With Montreal ahead 3-0, Vidro hit his 13th homer on a 2-0 pitch from Bryan Rekar (1-11) leading off the sixth. Guerrero hit Rekar's next pitch over the left-field wall for his 23rd homer.

White Sox 3, Cubs 1

Chicago Sean Lowe allowed three hits in seven innings, and Carlos Lee homered for the White Sox before a spirited crowd of 40,551, the second largest of the season at Wrigley Field. The White Sox captured the season series 4-2 and lead the interleague matchup that began in 1997 13-11. Lowe (5-1) shut out the Cubs on one hit through the first five innings before they finally broke through in the sixth on soft singles by pinch-hitter Delino DeShields and Ricky Gutierrez and Sammy Sosa's sacrifice fly that made it 2-1.

Mets 2, Red Sox 0

New York Glendon Rusch pitched one-hit ball for eight innings to give Mets manager Bobby Valentine his 1,000th major league victory. Rusch (5-5) surrendered only a first-inning infield hit to Trot Nixon, who beat out a drag bunt to first when Lenny Harris' flip went past second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, who was covering the bag. Rusch struck out 10, matching the career high he set in a loss to the Yankees on July 8, 2000. It was the sixth straight start in which Rusch allowed three runs or fewer, but just his second win in that span.

Reds 6, Indians 5, 13 innings

Cincinnati Cleveland's John Rocker hit a batter, walked another and made a wild throw in the 13th inning, allowing Cincinnati to end a five-game losing streak. Rocker (2-3) hit Jason LaRue to open the inning, then threw off-target to first on Kelly Stinnett's bunt, leaving both runners safe. Rocker then walked Juan Castro on four pitches and yielded a sacrifice fly to Ruben Rivera.

Yankees 5, Marlins 4, 10 innings

Miami Pinch-hitter Chuck Knoblauch's RBI single broke a tie in the 10th as New York averted a series sweep. Knoblauch came through in his first appearance since being hit on the left elbow by a pitch Thursday. His one-out single scored pinch-runner Clay Bellinger, who barely beat center fielder Ryan Thompson's throw home.

Mariners 3, Giants 2

Seattle Freddy Garcia won his fifth straight decision as Seattle won its 22nd series of the season with a victory over San Francisco. Garcia (11-1), the winning pitcher in Tuesday night's All-Star game at Safeco Field, allowed two runs on three hits in six innings. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out two. Garcia, who came in with consecutive shutouts and 20 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings, allowed solo home runs to Rich Aurilia in the first inning and Armando Rios in the fourth. Shawn Estes (7-4) lost his second straight start, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits in six innings.

Blue Jays 4, Phillies 2

Philadelphia Joey Hamilton allowed one run in 513 innings and hit a go-ahead RBI double as Toronto beat Philadelphia. Toronto won two of three to take its first series against Philadelphia since 1997 the first year of interleague play. Phillies manager Larry Bowa was ejected for the first time this season. Bowa, known for his volatile temper when he managed San Diego 13 years ago, was tossed by plate umpire Dan Iassogna for arguing a strike call on Johnny Estrada in the seventh.

Dodgers 5, Athletics 3, 15 innings

Oakland, Calif. Chad Kreuter and Paul Lo Duca walked with the bases loaded in the 15th inning as Los Angeles beat Oakland to end a three-game slide. Marquis Grissom singled off Mark Guthrie (6-2) with one out and went to third on Adrian Beltre's single. Guthrie who gave up a homer to Lo Duca in the 14th before Oakland came back to tie hit Alex Cora with a pitch to load the bases before walking Kreuter. Erik Hiljus then relieved and walked Lo Duca to force in another run.

Rockies 11, Rangers 2

Arlington, Texas Shawn Chacon recovered from his worst outing in the majors by allowing two runs over eight-plus innings, and Larry Walker hit three doubles as Colorado stopped a five-game slide by beating Texas. Chacon (5-5), a rookie who had lost three of his previous four decisions, allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked three. He carried a four-hit shutout into the ninth inning, before giving up three straight hits.

Twins 5, Brewers 3

Milwaukee Corey Koskie hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as Minnesota rallied past Milwaukee. Koskie's 425-foot shot off David Weathers (2-3) gave the AL Central-leading Twins their 15th win in 18 games. Bob Wells (8-3) gained the win despite allowing a seventh-inning go-ahead RBI double to Ronnie Belliard, who drove in all of Milwaukee's runs.

l Box scores on page 6C

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