Ripken brilliance lifts Orioles

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The Independent Online

Cal Ripken gave the crowd at Camden Yards one more reason to celebrate.

Playing his first game at home since getting his 3,000th hit, Ripken provided another highlight with a homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Baltimore Orioles to a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay.

"If you were trying to write a script, trying to get the next hit and trying to celebrate all over again, this would be a good way to do it," Ripken said.

"Tie ballgame, sitting on 3,000, getting a chance to celebrate a win with a sudden death home run - it's a good feeling," he said.

In other American League games, New York downed Texas 5-4 in 10 innings, Boston beat Detroit 10-0, Oakland defeated Cleveland 10-5, Toronto topped Anaheim 12-4, Minnesota beat Kansas City 7-6 and Chicago stopped Seattle 5-2.

Ripken recorded his 3,000th hit Saturday night at Minnesota. He did not play Sunday, and the Orioles' home games Monday and Tuesday against the Devil Rays were rained out.

Given a pair of early standing ovations, Ripken rewarded the fans later. He opened the ninth by hitting a 1-0 pitch from reliever Jim Mecir (2-1) into the left-field stands for his third homer of the year.

Baltimore won its third in a row.

"Guys like Cal, I don't think any one of us should be surprised at the things they do," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "They only get stronger and more consistent. I was going to say better, but you can't get much better."

Ripken hit the third game-ending home run of his career and his first since doing it against Kevin Hickey of the Chicago White Sox on July 13, 1984. Wednesday's homer moved him past Roberto Clemente into sole possession of 23rd place on the career hits list.


Yankees 5, Rangers 4 10 innings

Clay Bellinger homered in the 10th inning and New York finished off its first three-game sweep at Texas since 1983. The Yankees have won eight in a row, their longest streak since taking nine straight in August 1998.

The Yankees have beaten Texas in nine consecutive playoff games, and extended the domination to the regular season. They are 5-0 against the Rangers this year.

Ivan Rodriguez connected for a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera (2-0), tying the score. Rivera had been successful on 27 straight save chances since last July 16 - that was the date he last allowed a home run, to Atlanta's Andruw Jones.

Bellinger, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth, homered against Jeff Zim left with stiffness in his lower back. The Yankees said it was not a serious problem.

Red Sox 10, Tigers 0

Trot Nixon hit a grand slam and Boston hit four other home runs to win at Comerica Park.

Jose Offerman, Troy O'Leary, Mike Stanley and Nomar Garciaparra also homered for the Red Sox. Nixon drove in five runs.

Brian Rose (1-2) and three relievers teamed on a six-hitter as the Red Sox shut out Detroit for the second straight day.

Blue Jays 12, Angels 4

David Wells struck out 10 in his second complete game of the year, bouncing back from a poor start to pitch Toronto past visiting Anaheim.

In his previous outing, Wells (2-1) matched the shortest outing of his career, giving up six runs in one inning.

Wells allowed eight hits in his 38th career complete game. He shut out Texas on April 8.

White Sox 5, Mariners 2

The White Sox withstood a near-homer by Alex Rodriguez to beat Seattle at Comiskey Park.

Rodriguez thought he had hit a tying home run around the left-field pole in the seventh inning, but third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth called it foul. Manager Lou Piniella asked for a second opinion and, after the umpires conferred, the call stood.

Television replays were inconclusive.

Athletics 10, Indians 5

Miguel Tejada hit his first career grand slam and Kevin Appier pitched Oakland past Cleveland at Jacobs Field.

Appier (3-1) won his third straight start. Jason Giambi, Ben Grieve and Matt Stairs also homered for the Athletics.

Twins 7, Royals 6

Butch Huskey singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning at the Metrodome. Minnesota sent Kansas City to its fifth straight loss.

Matt Lawton bounced a one-out double over the head of second baseman Carlos Febles. Corey Koskie was intentionally walked with two outs, and Huskey singled.