NEW YORK - Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was aware that he has been in a pretty good groove at the plate lately and that his doubles total was mounting. After all, nearly 30 percent of his hits have gone for two bases.
But the fact that he is vastly approaching a team record was breaking news to the Orioles' leadoff batter.
With Roberts' third-inning double Saturday, his 43rd of the season, he moved into a tie with Roberto Alomar (1996) and Delino DeShields (2000) for third place on the team's all-time single-season list.
Cal Ripken occupies the top two spots, hitting 47 doubles in 1983 and 46 in 1991.
"Any time you're on a list in Orioles history, it's something I'm proud of," Roberts said. "Any time you're on with Cal, that's pretty good."
Roberts' previous high was 22 last season, but this is his first full season as the everyday second baseman. He already has 531 at-bats after beginning last year in Triple-A Ottawa and totaling 460.
"I think you get comfortable when you're in the lineup playing every day and that probably has a lot to do with it," he said. "This is the kind of hitter I've always been. I don't really have the home run power, but I have some speed and I can get doubles on some balls that probably other hitters can't."
Roberts has hit in eight straight games, going 13-for-32 during that span. He has also hit safely in 24 of his past 27 games.
Roberts went 1-for-4 yesterday but couldn't drive in the go-ahead run in the ninth with men on first and third base and one out. He grounded out as the runners held.
"Offensively, he's done a really good job," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "And he's a complete player. He steals bases. He plays defense."
Brown: `lapse of control'
Meeting with reporters for the first time since Friday, when he broke two bones in his non-throwing hand after punching a wall, Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown apologized to his teammates, the New York fans and the organization for having a "momentarily lapse of control."
Wearing a soft cast after surgery to insert two pins in his wrist, Brown said that he has no doubt he'll return to the mound this season.
"The burden is mine," said Brown, who attributed his frustration to injuries and not performing up to his own expectations. "It was a mistake that I made. ... If there was any way in the world I could take it back, I would."
The best-case scenario has Brown returning in three weeks, though he could miss the rest of the season.
Seeking to learn more about a wide-eyed, 23-year-old outfielder whose contract had just been purchased from Double-A Bowie earlier that night, a reporter asked Val Majewski about his favorite baseball team growing up.
Still shocked to be standing in a major league clubhouse, Majewski, who joined the Orioles on Aug. 18, glanced to his left and right to make sure none of his teammates were listening. In a mere whisper, he invoked the name of the dreaded Yankees.
Growing up in Freehold, N.J., and playing at Rutgers University, Majewski saw plenty of games from the stands at Yankee Stadium, but he had never been on the field until Friday. The newness of the experience was written all over his youthful face.
Majewski emerged from the Orioles' clubhouse early and watched intently as the Yankees took batting practice. At times, he looked as if he were in a trance.
"When we walked into the stadium, I got chills just knowing what's gone on here," he said.
Only his immediate family sought tickets. Friends called to wish him good luck.
"I'm one of the new guys," he said, "so I'm in no position to ask anyone for extra tickets."
Around the horn
With his home run, Rafael Palmeiro passed Ripken for 12th place on the all-time total-base list with 5,174. ... The Orioles are expected to add at least two pitchers tomorrow from Triple-A Ottawa. Rick Bauer and Matt Riley, who have both spent time with the Orioles this season, are candidates. Mazzilli said he'll use the call-ups for spot starts and could possibly go to a six-man rotation.
Sun staff writer Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.