CLEVELAND — CLEVELAND -- Don't look back, Cal Ripken. Brady Anderson is keeping pace with you.
Anderson was in the starting lineup last night after leaving the previous night's game in the seventh inning with a strained right hamstring.
He and Ripken are the only Orioles who have played in all 74 games this season.
"I asked him how he feels, he said he's ready to play and he plays," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said.
Anderson had missed only 13 innings going into last night's game.
Why didn't he take a day off?
"I don't know, I just want to play, I guess," Anderson said.
Closing a revolving door
The Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals can't be counted out yet, but the four strongest contestants for the three remaining playoff spots to go with the American League West champion shape up as the Orioles, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.
The Orioles have one point in their favor compared to those three clubs. They have a reliable closer. Lee Smith has more saves than any major-league bullpen.
Two of the pitchers the Indians have used as closers went on the disabled list in a recent three-day span. Steve Farr, who began the season as the closer, went on the DL with a sore right elbow and Paul Shuey went down with a strained right groin.
Shuey, the Indians' No. 1 draft choice in 1992, went 0-1 with an 8.49 ERA after being called up.
Eric Plunk will be the Indians' closer now.
"I don't believe in a bullpen by committee," Indians pitching coach Phil Regan said. "I think guys pitch better when they know their roles."
Ripken has been the only starting shortstop for the Orioles since July 1, 1982.
Since then, the Indians have had an army of shortstops: Mike Fischlin, Jerry Dybzinski, Luis Aguayo, Julio Franco, Johnnie LeMaster, Fran Mullins, Dan Rohn, Cory Snyder, Jay Bell, Junior Noboa, Domingo Ramos, Ron Washington, Paul Zuvella, Larry Milbourne, Felix Fermin, Tommy Hinzo, Carlos Baerga, Rafael Santana, Tom Brookens, Mark Lewis, Tony Perezchica, Jose Escobar, Alvaro Espinoza and Omar Vizquel.
Around the horn
The Indians' four homers were the most allowed by the Orioles in a game this season. . . . Rafael Palmeiro, who had his ninth three-hit game to raise his average to .336, has a chance to break the Orioles' single-season batting average record of .328, set by Ken Singleton in 1977. . . . Ripken struck more than once for the first time since May 14.
HOME RUN STREAK
The Orioles have homered in 14 straight games, tying the team record set in 1986 and equaled in 1987. The 22-homer breakdown:
Player ... ... ... ... HRs
Chris Hoiles .. .. ... 4
M. Devereaux .. .. ... 1
B. Anderson ... .. ... 3
Tim Hulett ... ... ... 1
Harold Baines .. .. .. 3
Dwight Smith ... .. .. 1
Chris Sabo ... ... ... 3
Jeff Tackett ... .. .. 1
Leo Gomez .. .. .. ... 2
J. Hammonds ... .. ... 1
Cal Ripken ... ... ... 2