Ripken coming back to AL hitting pack, as Tartabull closes in


The Orioles' Cal Ripken still leads the American League batting race -- barely.

His 0-for-4 in yesterday's 6-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners trimmed his average to .3315, a mere three-thousandths of a point ahead of the Kansas Royals' Danny Tartabull.

* JUNIOR TOO MUCH: Another junior, Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr., went 3-for-4, including a three-run homer, and is swinging a .478 bat in his last 46 at-bats.

* MARINERS BID FAREWELL: The Mariners became the first team to bid the stadium farewell. They won't be back until next spring. After losing its first 14 games here starting in 1977, Seattle leaves with 10 wins in its final 13 decisions against the Orioles.

Only 4,402 attended the first Orioles-Mariners game May 6, 1977, a Friday night, no less. The total for the three games this weekend was 107,820, the highest ever for a series between the clubs, here or there.

* GLENN DAVIS REPORT: The slugger says the nerve injury in his neck is healing nicely and his return to action "could be less than two weeks or a maximum of a month." He took batting practice a few times last week in Kansas City, then took several days off over the weekend.

* TIME TO READJUST: Third baseman Leo Gomez was 0-for-16 when he doubled in the fourth inning. "Readjustment," manager John Oates said. "Pitchers have seen him a few times, and now he has to readjust."

* ANGELS UP NEXT: The pitching matchups for the Orioles-California series send Ben McDonald against Jim Abbott tomorrow night, Bob Milacki against Chuck Finley Wednesday and Roy Smith against Kirk McCaskill Thursday.

* HOT FOR CASEY: The 115-degree temperature on the field at 4:30 p.m. reminded former Associated Press writer Gordon Beard of Casey Stengel's comment before the 1966 All-Star Game in St. Louis. It was 120 degrees on the artificial turf at the Cardinals' new stadium when Stengel was asked what he thought of the place. "It holds the heat well," Stengel replied dryly.

* SATURDAY'S BEST -- AND WORST: Juan Bell collected his first hit at the stadium after 17 failures in the 5-1 loss to Seattle. He tempered that by staggering under a pop foul and missing it for an error. After his hit, the switch-hitting Bell asked for the ball as a keepsake, puzzling the Orioles.

"We thought at first it was his first hit in the majors righthanded, but, no, he was 1-for-12," Oates said. "Then Junior [Cal Ripken] figured it out that it was his first hit here."

Gomez had nine assists, two shy of the major-league record in a nine-inning game by a third baseman.

The back-to-back home runs by Henry Cotto and Harold Reynolds in the fifth were the first hit against the Orioles this year and the first by the Mariners since Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. connected last Sept. 14 against California.

Of Reynolds' 13 major-league home runs, four have come against the Orioles. Cotto's 8-for-17 against the Orioles this season includes three home runs.

* THIS 'N THAT: Jay Buhner also homered for the Mariners, launching a 463-foot shot that ranks among the longest ever hit at the stadium. The longest was Harmon Killebrew's 471-footer off Milt Pappas in 1964.

In his last 17 stadium starts, Jeff Ballard, Saturday night's loser, is 0-12.

The Orioles will hold their fifth annual Lunchtime Rally in Washington, D.C., this Thursday at Farragut Square, 914 17th St. N.W., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oates and McDonald will sign autographs and Jon Miller will emcee the events. Complimentary hot dogs, soda and snacks will be available.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad