Ripken back in the spring of things

Orioles notes

June 29, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Cal Ripken has returned to Florida to get his batting in order. Figuratively speaking, of course.

"It was just a matter of trying to get back to the way I swung in spring training," the reigning American League MVP said yesterday after Orioles notes

his fifth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 16 games.

"Maybe at the start of the season I was trying too hard to get off to a good start. Now, I'm starting to get it back, and I'm feeling pretty comfortable."

Ripken has equaled the 16-game streak he had from May 20 to June 7. Only one other Oriole, Luis Aparicio in 1966, had two streaks of 15 games or longer in the same season.

"It just started with one or two good at-bats a game," he said. "Then, it was two or three. And slowly it got better and better."

Ripken has two of the six longest hitting streaks in the league this season, and is the only player in either league with two of 16 games or longer.

He is batting .418 during the current streak. In the three games before yesterday, he had to keep it alive the hard way -- with hits in his final at-bat.

The two surges have been separated only by a four-game stretch in which he went 0-for-14. This month, Ripken's batting average is .343.

Racing in place

The race at the top of the American League East remains on a treadmill, with the Orioles and Toronto losing on the same day. The Blue Jays lost to Cleveland, 7-6, and stayed one game ahead of the Orioles.

The Orioles and Blue Jays have been separated by no more than 1 1/2 games for the past 59 days, starting May 1. During that span, the two teams have played on the same day 49 times, and 33 of those days, they've had the same result.

Through the last 59 days, the Orioles have gone 30-23 and the Blue Jays have gone 28-23.

Food drive success

The Orioles wives collected four tons of food Saturday night during their annual drive for the Maryland Food Bank.

Fans may continue to bring canned food to the Fan Assistance Center during the remainder of the homestand.

Miscellaneous

Kevin Koslofski's third-inning single for the Royals was his first major-league hit. "It was kind of like my wedding," he said of his major-league debut. "Nervous before it started and calmed down once it began." He went 3-for-5 overall. . . . Royals

3B Gregg Jefferies tied his major-league high with four hits, the first time he has done that since Sept. 18, 1989. . . . A dispute over a foul ball jointly caught by two fans behind home plate was resolved amicably when Orioles owner Eli Jacobs sent a second ball to the fan who ended up without one. . . . Yesterday's sellout was the 15th in a row for the Orioles and 23rd in 36 dates this season. . . . The series loss to Kansas City was the Orioles' third at Camden Yards, where they are 7-3-2 in series play. Chicago and Oakland were the other series winners. . . . Yesterday's loss gives the Orioles a 22-14 record at home. They're 12-13 since getting off to a 10-1 start at Camden Yards. . . . Three Orioles pitchers -- Mike Mussina (104 2/3 ), Ben McDonald (102) and Rick Sutcliffe (115) -- have worked more than 100 innings, the earliest that has happened since 1984.

16 and counting

A look at Cal Ripken's 16-game hitting streak, during which he has raised his batting average 39 points (his average was .250 before the streak started):

Date ..AB H HR RBI BA

June 12 4 2 0 0 .254

June 13 4 1 0 0 .254

June 14 4 2 0 1 .259

June 15 5 2 0 1 .262

June 16 4 1 0 1 .261

June 17 4 3 0 1 .269

June 19 5 3 1 1 .276

June 20 5 2 0 0 .278

June 21 4 3 0 0 .286

June 22 4 2 0 0 .289

June 23 4 2 2 4 .292

June 24 4 1 0 0 .292

June 25 4 1 0 0 .291

June 26 4 1 0 0 .290

June 27 4 1 0 0 .290

June 28 4 1 0 0 .289

Totals .67 28 3 9 .418

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