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Ripken Owns This Bash

Baseball: Angels fall to Orioles, 4-3, in 10th, but fan focus stays on retiring veteran.

July 28, 2001|CHRIS FOSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Cal Ripken retirement tour came to Edison Field Friday and it was clear where the fans' attention was.

This may have been the Angels' home stadium, but the 39,616 in attendance were his crowd. And that the Baltimore Orioles squeaked out a 4-3 victory in 10 innings only seemed to matter because Ripken was involved in a small way.

Fans cheered long and loud when Ripken came to the plate in the second. He homered. They booed just as loudly when Angel pitcher Al Levine walked him intentionally with a runner on second and one out in the 10th. One out later, fans hardly stirred when Levine intentionally walked Chris Richard to load the bases.

Pinch-hitter Larry Bigbie's broken bat single scored Melvin Mora, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning. Ripken was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Orlando Palmeiro, and still received a hand from the crowd.

"This is really a celebration of baseball," said Ripken, who is retiring after 19 seasons with the Orioles. "It's an opportunity for people to say goodbye. It gives me a chance to say goodbye too."

Ripken received a long ovation when he came to the plate in the second inning. He stepped out of the batter's box, tipped his helmet, then smacked Scott Schoeneweis' 82-mph slider that didn't break, hitting it down the left-field line for his fifth homer in the last 12 games.

"What can you do?" Schoeneweis said. "I made a mistake and he took advantage of it. That's a storybook-thing and I had the bad half."

The Angels won't see Cal after Sunday, something that can't be too distressing to their pitchers. Ripken has 38 career home runs against the Angels.

He demonstrated that power again Friday, although he might have gotten a little help from Scott "Chan Ho" Schoeneweis. The Dodgers' Chan Ho Park was accused of grooving a pitch to Ripken, allowing him to homer at the All-Star game.

"You're looking at the wrong angle," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "That was Cal coming up with a big moment. He's been doing that his whole career."

All nine of Ripken's nine home runs have been on the road this season.

"He just added me to his book," Schoeneweis said. "He's one of those legends who years from now you can say, 'He took me deep.' "

Schoeneweis then added: "That was my last chance to hang a slider to him."

Assisted or not, the run counted and the Orioles had a quick 1-0 lead. The Angels spent much of the game trying to get that run back.

They tied the score, 3-3, in the seventh, but could have had much more. Scott Spiezio led off with a single and Tim Salmon walked. Pitcher Jason Johnson then mishandled Palmeiro's sacrifice bunt, loading the bases with no outs.

Out of that situation, the Angels managed one run. Bengie Molina grounded into a double play, scoring Spiezio. David Eckstein walked and stole second, with Salmon wandering down the third-base line, looking to break for home. But he wandered too far off the bag and catcher Fernando Lunar picked him off.

"Tim looked like he was going to get back easy," Scioscia said. "All of a sudden, he didn't get there.

"We had an opportunity to win this game and didn't."

What the Angels could feel good about was Schoeneweis' performance. He has struggled since going 6-3 in his first 12 starts. Since then, he is 1-5, a rut that seemed to mirror last season when Schoeneweis started 4-0, then went 3-10.

In his last two starts, Schoeneweis had given up 10 runs in nine innings.

Schoeneweis gave up three runs in eight innings, two on run-scoring singles by Brian Roberts and Mora in the sixth. But through six innings, 13 of the Orioles' 18 outs were ground balls and three of their hits didn't leave the infield.

"Hopefully I've worked myself out of the funk I've been in the better half of a month," Schoeneweis said. "

Johnson matched Schoeneweis. He had few problems, with the exception of Troy Glaus.

In the fourth, Glaus led off with a double. He moved to third on Darin Erstad's grounder to first and scored on Garret Anderson's grounder to first to tie the score, 1-1.

Glaus launched a 2-2 pitch well beyond the center-field fence in the sixth. It was his third home run off Johnson this season.

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