O's lose, sentiment prevails

Raines duo takes field

Ripken drought ends

October 05, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

No other lineup card in baseball matched the one scribbled upon last night by Orioles manager Mike Hargrove. Who else could put a father in left field, his son in center and a legend at third base?

As another game was peeled from what remains of Cal Ripken's career, the Orioles plucked a few more heartstrings by starting Tim Raines Sr. and Tim Raines Jr. in the same outfield. A season that's left so many fans cold never felt so cozy.

With the memories becoming fresher, the ovations more prolonged and flashbulbs lighting up Camden Yards, Ripken ended an 0-for-33 streak by lining a single off the glove of Boston third baseman Shea Hillenbrand in the Orioles' 5-4 loss to the Red Sox before 43,302.

A three-run homer by Chris Stynes off reliever John Wasdin in the seventh inning decided the outcome in a game in which the score again became secondary. Fans won't be streaming into the ballpark the next two days to see if the Orioles can avoid 98 losses.

More gifts and video tributes were bestowed upon Ripken, who gave something back in the fifth inning with his hard-hit single. He had lined out to left field in the second, continuing to smash the ball but not make a dent in his slump until clearing Hillenbrand's reach.

"The last three days he's hit the ball hard," Hargrove said. "I thought he hit the ball hard enough to go completely by Hillenbrand, and he almost caught the thing. Usually you're first hit is a jammer or something like that. Hopefully this breaks things up and Cal can go back to getting hits like we're used to seeing."

Ripken, who again signed autographs long past the final out last night, went 1-for-4, with a strikeout in the ninth inning.

"He's been swinging the bat very well," said Orioles first baseman Jeff Conine. "I went through it earlier this year where you feel good at the plate, you hit the ball well and you hit it right at people. It's easy to get frustrated and try to change things, but he's stayed consistent and stuck with his stances and he's been hitting the ball consistently very hard."

As Ripken jogged to third base before the first inning, the elder Raines, 42, and Raines Jr., 22, took their places in baseball history. They've joined the Griffeys as the only father-son teammates, with Raines Jr. getting noticed for more than his last name. He singled in the first inning, stole a base and scored his fifth run since joining the team Monday. Raines Sr. went 0-for-4 with an RBI.

In his original lineup, Hargrove had the elder Raines batting second behind Raines Jr., but a revision lowered the father to sixth.

"He's a professional hitter," Hargrove said. "The two at-bats he had [Wednesday] night were great at-bats, and he's a run producer."

Two days ago, he was part of the Montreal Expos organization. The Orioles acquired him in a trade initiated by the Expos, who wanted to do something nice for Raines Sr. Removing him from Olympic Stadium would have been charitable enough.

"I figured the best chance I had was maybe playing against each other in interleague play," Raines Sr. said of being on the same field with his son, "but as far as playing together, that was the farthest from my mind, and I'm sure his as well."

Expos general manager Jim Beattie made it possible by contacting the Orioles on Tuesday. Raines Sr. had reservations about passing along Beattie's intentions to his wife for fear of setting her up for a huge disappointment or spreading a rumor that would prove false.

"I told Jim that I wasn't going to tell her because I knew if I did, she would tell everybody and we weren't real sure it was going to happen," he said. "I told her anyway and said, `You better not tell anyone.' I kept a close eye on her so she couldn't use the phone."

They sat behind home plate for their son's debut Monday, when he sprinted toward center field as a defensive replacement. His mother jumped to her feet and pumped both fists in the air while Raines Sr., remaining in his seat, accepted handshakes from surrounding fans.

"When she saw him run out on the field, she was like she was at a football game. I was hiding my face. But she really gets excited. She's a real big fan of both of us."

Hargrove is a huge supporter of anyone who can make his injury-depleted club a little deeper. He also appreciates the sentimental touch.

"We've got somebody who can help us to make moves late in the ballgame if we choose to do that," Hargrove said, "and it also allows a very special thing to happen, with father and son being able to play on the same team."

Raines Jr. was the focus of a first-inning rally that produced two runs off Boston's Hideo Nomo, who no-hit the Orioles on April 4. He singled to right field, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch, setting up a sacrifice fly by Conine, the team's Most Valuable Player, and a 1-0 lead.

"So far, so good," Hargrove said of Raines Jr. "He's doing his job. He has not seemed intimidated. Offensively and defensively, he's done what he's supposed to do. I haven't seen any wild swings from him. He hits in pretty good counts."

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