Ripken keeps O's rolling

May 25, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- When Cal Ripken looks back on his 300th home run, which came in his 1,939th consecutive start, he will have plenty of memories from which to choose.

Foremost, there is the deficit the Orioles overcame to push their winning streak to three games last night with a 13-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Orioles trailed 5-0 through two innings and led 10-5 through four innings.

Ripken might even remember that he drove in six runs and scored a run on his own bases-loaded double.

Not to be forgotten, Ripken will remember the milestone home run itself, a three-run poke over the left-field fence with two outs in the third inning off Brewers left-hander Ted Higuera, who had an even worse game than Orioles left-hander Sid Fernandez.

Ripken won't remember that his batting average with runners in scoring position was .466. There were just too many highlights to remember for one game.

There was the latest big game from Leo Gomez. With his biggest fan, majority owner Peter Angelos, looking on, Gomez hit two of the Orioles' five home runs and added a single. One home run was to center, the other to right, an indication he is not trying to pull every pitch. In his past three games, Gomez has gone 8-for-14 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI.

Then there were the home runs by Jack Voigt and Chris Hoiles.

Voigt started his day reading quotes from Milwaukee manager Phil Garner, who said he was starting to believe the rabbit ball theory because Mark McLemore and Voigt homered in Monday night's series opener.

Voigt homered for the second night in a row. And if Ripken doesn't remember that when he looks back on last night years from now, Voigt certainly will.

Ripken, whose season could be used as evidence against the juiced ball theory, caught Voigt's season total of three home runs.

Ripken's big game extended the Brewers' losing streak to a franchise-record 13 games.

Relievers Mark Eichhorn (1-1), who earned the win, and Alan Mills, who earned his first save, combined to shut out the Brewers in the final 7 1/3 innings. Eichhorn pitched a season-high 4 1/3 innings, struck out five and escaped a first-and-third, no-out jam in the fifth inning. Eichhorn has not given up a run in his past seven appearances covering 9 1/3 innings.

So much to remember for Ripken, who did his best to try to forget he needed one home run to reach 300.

"I've tried to put that out of my mind, but I've been well aware I was close to 300," said Ripken, who leads the Orioles with 34 RBI. "Maybe I was thinking about it too much so that I could get it out of the way and just relax."

Ripken joined Eddie Murray (333) and Boog Powell (303) as the only Orioles to reach 300 home runs.

Will he play long enough to talk about career home run No. 400? "Who knows?" Ripken said. "Who knows?"

Ripken's success with runners in scoring postion has fed on itself, he said. "Sometimes you get a little uptight with runners in scoring position," Ripken said. "If you get a few hits in those situations early, that allows you to relax and let your skill take over."

Informed Ripken was hitting .466 with runners in scoring position, Oates stated the obvious.

"I guess we need to get more people on in front of him, and we're trying to do that," Oates said, referring to leadoff batter Brady Anderson (.229) and No. 2 batter Mike Devereaux (.201). "Devo's swinging better, and Brady's having some good at-bats."

The Orioles scored four runs in the third and six in the fourth to overcome a 5-0 deficit created when the Brewers hit left-hander Fernandez so hard the Orioles went to their bullpen in the second inning.

Voigt started the comeback against Higuera with one out and nobody on in the second. His drive of a 2-0 pitch cleared the left-field fence. Two singles and one strikeout later, Ripken drove a three-run home run to left that capped the four-run inning and cut the Brewers' lead to one run.

Hoiles led off the six-run fourth with a home run to left, his seventh of the year.

Ripken scored the Orioles' fifth run of the inning when he hit a bases-loaded double, took third on left fielder Greg Vaughn's throw to the plate and was awarded home when the throw went out of play.

ORIOLES TODAY

Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers

Site: County Stadium, Milwaukee

Time: 2:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Jamie Moyer (1-3, 6.39) vs. Brewers' Mike Ignasiak (1-0, 3.68).

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