Ripken Sheds His Slump With 3 Hits, Go-ahead Hr

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Anderson Gets A Rest

Surhoff Ready To Return

April 28, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The way Cal Ripken had been swinging the bat this season, the last three games before yesterday sure felt like a slump.

One hit in his past 10 at-bats, and that one didn't leave the infield. One RBI. A double-play grounder in the ninth inning Thursday that doused a possible game-winning rally.

It got to where Ripken volunteered to let Jeff Reboulet pinch-hit for him Saturday. Better to give the swings to someone else, he reasoned.

Yesterday, Ripken tried to take care of business himself, going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs in a 13-7 loss at Camden Yards.

His three-run homer in the fifth inning gave the Orioles a 6-5 lead that the bullpen couldn't protect. He also singled twice, leaving his average at .341 and increasing his RBI total to 20, the most on the club.

"It's the nature of the game, the nature of the beast," Ripken said of the offensive woes. "I don't know of anybody who goes through a whole season and not slump.

"I'd been swinging the bat really well for a while, and you just run into a period where you're not seeing the ball or you're jumpy. It could be a number of reasons. Today, I worked a little bit and came back. I wish I knew, therefore you'd never have a slump. But then, it wouldn't be as interesting of a game."

Anderson: Rest and regroup

Brady Anderson wasn't in the lineup, but should be able to play in tomorrow's opener of a three-game series in Minnesota.

"He's got two days to kind of regroup," manager Davey Johnson said. "I did talk to him late in the game about, if I needed to win the game, maybe I'd pinch-hit him. But he's hurting. He's been playing in a lot of pain. So, maybe the two days will quiet it down a little bit and he'll be all right."

Asked if Anderson will serve as designated hitter for a while, rather than patrol center field, Johnson said, "Probably, but you never know with Brady."

Anderson aggravated his cracked rib when he crashed into the wall while making a catch Thursday night, but returned to the lineup Saturday and went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. He's batting .382.

Jeffrey Hammonds, who had three hits, started in center again yesterday, and Pete Incaviglia was the DH. Tony Tarasco made his third consecutive start in left.

Benitez woes continue

Before Armando Benitez was ejected for throwing inside to Jeff Frye in the eighth, he allowed three runs -- including two homers -- walked a batter and threw a wild pitch in two-thirds of an inning. For the season, he's allowed eight earned runs in 8 1/3 innings and walked 11.

His difficulties make the absence of Alan Mills more pronounced.

"He's having a problem right now," said Johnson. "Maybe it's the weather, maybe he fights himself a little bit. He overthrows. He'll be all right."

Surhoff ready to return

Johnson said the chances of B. J. Surhoff playing tomorrow are "pretty good, if you ask him."

"He's running again today and it looks like he's doing pretty good."

Surhoff missed his fifth game since straining his left groin while running out a fly ball Tuesday.

Empathetic manager

If anyone can relate to players wanting to be in the lineup despite an injury, it's Johnson.

"I had every conceivable injury. I ran into things. And I kept playing," said the former second baseman.

"I shouldn't have, probably. If I had had a little more discretion, I probably wouldn't be this banged up and had this many aches and pains. But I was taught when I came up, and my mentality was the same as Brady and them, you just go all out."

Around the horn

Pitcher Jimmy Key, who won his fourth game Saturday despite a stiff neck, is feeling much better. His next scheduled start is Friday night at Camden Yards against Oakland. Rafael Palmeiro, who was 1-for-5, extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Pub Date: 4/28/97

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