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Mariners join cheers, do number of own, 9-6


A horde of Orioles fans left the ballpark immediately after the mid-game celebration of Cal Ripken's consecutive-games streak.

They saw the highlight of the afternoon -- the entire Seattle Mariners' team standing on the top step of the dugout and applauding.

Those who left didn't miss much. The Orioles left 12 men on base, rallied for two runs in the eighth to make it close, but lost to the Mariners, 9-6, before what was left of the crowd of 46,269 at Camden Yards.

The Orioles, 1-5 so far on this homestand, fell six games back in the wild-card race.

Rick Krivda (2-3) was the losing pitcher, giving up a three-run homer to Ken Griffey's center-field stand-in, Rich Amaral, and allowing six hits and five earned runs in four innings.

Brady Anderson had three hits. Ripken, two games shy of tying Lou Gehrig's record, had two singles and two RBIs.

Anderson has called Ripken "the most respected player in the game," and the nice gesture by the Mariners proved Anderson's point.

Oakland manager Tony La Russa had stood in the dugout and applauded Thursday, the last day of his team's homestand. But this was the entire Mariners' team, on the top step, clapping.

Seattle manager Lou Piniella said the Mariners had discussed doing something to honor Ripken.

"He deserved it," Piniella said. "It was a small tribute to a great feat and a great accomplishment."

Several of Piniella's players were unaware of the earlier meeting. Outfielder Jay Buhner said the gesture, which began once the music played and the No. 2,128 unfurled from the warehouse, was spontaneous.

"It was kind of funny because I looked around and everybody was up there," Buhner said.

The Mariners were moved.

"I kind of got choked up a little bit," Amaral said. "I wasn't crying or anything. I just respect him so much for going out there and playing every day."

Griffey, who didn't play until he went in as a ninth-inning defensive replacement, went even further.

"It's something I can tell my grand-kids," Griffey said. "Every decade you have something that is just ours. You look at Reggie [Jackson's] three home runs, we have Cal Ripken now."

Ripken said he saw the opposing players applauding.

"It's a tremendous honor all the way around," Ripken said. "It especially makes you feel good when your peers, the players you play against, support you that way.

"I've been lost out there at times, I don't know what to do [in response to the ovation]. I'm very appreciative of it, but I don't know what to do."

Several Mariners playfully suggested that Ripken take a day off.

"You make the rest of us look bad for not taking a day off for so long," Griffey said.

"I'll be glad when he breaks it," 6-foot-10 left-hander Randy Johnson said, "because next year I'll go inside on him again."

One device Ripken used to hide his emotions yesterday was a pair of sunglasses. Ripken had revealed his secret to Buhner Saturday night when the two players stood at second.

"He said, 'You can't see tears in my eyes with my glasses on,' " Buhner said. "Being in the spotlight he's in, it's got to be so touching."

Ripken is in the spotlight, but the Orioles have faded to the background. They scored four runs in the first two innings off starter Andy Benes yesterday, but left the bases loaded in each of the first three.

Through four innings, they stranded 10 men on base and did not have another base runner until the eighth. Their 12 men left on base was three short of the season high Aug. 27 at California.

The Mariners scored two runs in the first three innings and four more in the fifth, three of them on Amaral's homer. They added one in the seventh on Edgar Martinez's leadoff double and Buhner's single for a 7-4 lead.

The Orioles rallied in the eighth, scoring two runs on RBI singles by Jeff Manto and Ripken. But, with two outs and runners on first and second, Chris Hoiles struck out looking on Norm Charlton's inside breaking ball.

Armando Benitez gave up two more runs with two outs in the ninth on a walk, a double and an error.

Orioles manager Phil Regan, when asked about the team's state of mind right now, gave a curt reply: "I wouldn't say it's euphoric."

The euphoria surrounds Ripken, particularly after the fifth inning. The fans know it. The opposing players know it. Even he knows it.

"There's a lot of power in that moment," Ripken said. "It's hard to explain."

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