Cal Ripken, who already has established two home run records for his position, is on the verge of yet another milestone.
Following last night's 10th-inning tiebreaker, the Orioles' All-Star shortstop needs one more homer to become the second active player to hit 20 or more in nine straight seasons. Philadelphia's Dale Murphy, who has 24 this season, already has reached the plateau.
Boston's Tom Brunansky and Dwight Evans started the year with eight consecutive 20-home run seasons, but both will miss the mark in 1990. Ripken has nine more games to join Murphy.
Last year Ripken broke Ernie Banks' record of seven straight 20-homer seasons for shortstops, and his career total of 215 as a shortstop (he has 223 in all) erased Vern Stephens' American League record for the position. Banks is the all-time leader with 293.
As the Orioles continue to show some late foot in the AL East's also-ran race, Ripken also is pursuing a couple of defensive records. With only three errors and a .995 fielding percentage in the first 152 games, he is on target to eclipse Tony Fernandez's record for fewest errors (six) and fielding percentage (.992), both set last year.
Gregg Olson is another potential record-setter for the Orioles. He needs one more save to pass Don Aase's club mark of 34, established in 1986.
The record chasers provide interesting sidelights as the Orioles try to extend their season-high winning streak to seven games tonight (7:30, HTS) against the Yankees. A victory also would give them their third straight series win against an Al East opponent.
Rookie righthander Anthony Telford (3-2, 3.47) pitches for the Orioles tonight, facing Dave Eiland (0-1, 3.93).