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Ripken Tops O's Hits List In Loss


Most of the fans in the record crowd at Camden Yards will remember the game as the one in which Cal Ripken became the Baltimore Orioles' career hit leader.
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  • Some might also look back and realize that the Orioles' flickering wild-card hopes took a damaging blow on that same night.

    Jaret Wright stymied Baltimore for the second time within a week and the Cleveland Indians took the luster off a big night for Ripken with a 6-3 victory Friday.

    The loss, combined with Boston's 9-2 rout of Minnesota, left the Orioles eight games behind the Red Sox in the wild-card chase -- the same deficit Baltimore faced exactly one month ago.

    Ripken grounded an opposite-field single to right in the seventh inning for his 2,849th career hit, eclipsing the Orioles franchise record held by Brooks Robinson.

    Ripken received a lengthy standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 48,374, the largest to attend a regular-season game in the seven-year history of the ballpark.

    "The ovation I got from the crowd was unbelievable, but it's hard to get real happy when we don't win," Ripken said.

    Still, Ripken couldn't help but feel a bit of pride in breaking the record of a player he grew up idolizing.

    "This is just another of the things that you didn't expect to happen," he said. "But when you play a long time, you get some hits and inch your way up the list and all of a sudden you've passed Brooks. It makes you feel good just knowing my personal feeling about the Orioles that they're my team, always been my team."

    Rafael Palmeir and Willie Greene homered for the Orioles, who lost a second straight game for the first time in August. Baltimore is 30-10 since the All-Star break but 3-3 in its last six games.

    Wright (11-7) pitched seven solid innings Sunday in the Indians' 5-3 victory over Baltimore. This time, the right-hander allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out three.

    "He was throwing 98 miles an hour, using sharp breaking balls and mixing pitches really well," Ripken said. "He has great stuff to begin with and he really had it going on."

    Wright received a hand from Kenny Lofton, who reached far over the center-field wall to steal a homer from Roberto Alomar in the sixth.

    "It was a big-time catch," Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said. "I don't know, a lot of people might have made that catch but they don't come to mind. Jabbar? Kareem Jabbar or Randy Johnson. He really got up."

    Steve Reed got four outs, Paul Assenmacher retired the only batter he faced and Mike Jackson got the final two outs.

    Palmeiro's 38th homer of the season, his first in eight games, ended a 2-for-24 skid and put the Orioles up 1-0 in the first inning.

    The Indians took command with a four-run third against Scott Kamieniecki (2-6), who is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts since leaving the disabled list July 25.

    Baltimore manager Ray Miller suggested that Kamieniecki might still be feeling pain in the bothersome neck muscle that put him on the DL.

    "He'd get two strikes and then lets out a yell and the ball goes 2 feet high," Miller said. "That tells me he can't do what he wants to do. We'll have to evaluate that."

    Said Kamieniecki: "I'm fine. I just wasn't able to make the pitches."

    Asked if he was 100 percent, he replied, "Ask Ray. He seems to know what the problem is."

    Lofton led off with a double and scored on a double by Brian Giles before Travis Fryman hit a two-out RBI single. After David Justice singled and Richie Sexson chased Kamieniecki with a run-scoring single, Justice scored on the front end of a double-steal while Sexson was caught in a rundown.

    Ripken extended his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games with his seventh-inning single, and Greene followed with his first home run since joining the Orioles in a trade with Cincinnati on Aug. 10.

    But the Indians went up 6-3 in the eighth on a bases-loaded balk by Jesse Orosco and a sacrifice fly by Omar Vizquel.

    Notes

  • Before the game, Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove was given a contract extension through 2000 with a club option for 2001.
  • It was Kamieniecki's second-shortest stint of the season. The right-hander is winless since April 18.
  • Baltimore lost for only the fourth time in 32 home games when scoring first.
  • Cleveland improved to 64-18 when scoring four or more runs.
  • It was only the second time this year Wright allowed two homers in a game.

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