Orioles 4, Angels 2
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Cal Ripken played in his 2,131st consecutive game Wednesday night, breaking a 56-year-old record that once seemed shatterproof while leading the Baltimore Orioles past the California Angels 4-2.
President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were in attendance, although few in the sellout crowd of 46,272 at Camden Yards seemed to care. On this night, Ripken was king.
Lou Gehrig, who had held the record of 2,130 consecutive games since 1939, will still always be known as the Iron Horse. Ripken has no nickname, but his name has become synonymous with persistence, integrity and consistency.
The Orioles shortstop received more than a dozen standing ovations, the longest after 4 1/2 innings when the game became official at 9:20 p.m. EDT. Baseball’s new Iron Man was given a rousing tribute for 22 minutes, 15 seconds while fireworks exploded and the players joined in the applause as the numbers on the B&O Warehouse outside the stadium dropped to 2-1-3-1.
Ripken pulled off his jersey and gave it to his 2-year-old son. Ripken, who claims to be a father first and a ballplayer second, wore a shirt underneath that read, ``2130+ Hugs And Kisses For Daddy.″
Ripken acknowledged the ovation with several curtain calls. Then teammates Rafael Palmeiro and Bobby Bonilla yanked him out of the dugout and Ripken took a lap around the field, slapping high-fives with fans and players along the way.
Earlier, in the bottom of the fourth, the crowd roared when Ripken hit his third homer in three games. The solo shot, on a 3-0 pitch from Shawn Boskie, left the fans in a frenzy and drew applause from Clinton.
It was the first time Ripken put together a three-game homer streak since his MVP year of 1991.
The buzz subsided during the top of the fifth, then reached ear-piercing level when the record became Ripken’s alone.
Before his first at-bat, Ripken removed his batting helmet twice after receiving a 45-second standing ovation. A portion of the crowd remained standing throughout the entire at-bat before settling into the seats after he popped out on a 3-1 pitch.
In the fourth, after Bonilla led off with a homer, Ripken followed with a drive into the left-field seats.
That was enough offense for Mike Mussina (16-8), who allowed two runs in 7 2-3 innings. Jesse Orosco got four outs for his first save since 1993.
Ripken finished 2-for-4, adding a broken-bat single in the eighth. He has hit in four straight games, but that particular streak took a back seat to the big one.
Palmeiro hit two solo homers for the Orioles, who took two of three from the reeling Angels. Baltimore’s last 13 homers have come with the bases empty.
Palmeiro’s 34th homer made it 4-1 in the seventh. Tim Salmon hit an RBI double in the eighth.
Despite losing for the 14th time in 16 games, the Angels maintained their 5 1/2-game lead over second-place Seattle in the AL West. California returns home after a 1-8 road trip, its worst of the season.
Boskie (6-4) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings.
California took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Salmon hit an 0-2 pitch from Mussina for his career-high 31st homer. Palmeiro homered in the bottom of the inning.
Notes: Five of Bonilla’s six homers with Baltimore have tied the game or put the Orioles ahead. ... The Angels’ only two wins in their last 16 games have come against Baltimore. They have dropped five straight series.