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More drama on Ripken’s farewell tour

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In a familiar scene that's been played out so often these last few weeks, Cal Ripken again gave a crowd what it came to see.

The baseball fans of South Florida stood and clapped Tuesday night, opening their throats and hearts not for the home team, but for a final chance to cheer one of the game's greatest players.

Ripken didn't disappoint. He rarely does.

Like he has so often throughout his glorious career — especially since announcing he'll retire at season's end — Ripken rose to the occasion and delivered in dramatic fashion.

Waving his batting helmet as he came to the plate in the seventh inning, Ripken turned on the first pitch and bid Miami goodbye with his latest home run.

Ripken's Baltimore Orioles lost 8-3 to the Florida Marlins, but that hardly mattered. The future Hall of Famer provided another rousing finale on his farewell tour, this one in Miami, where his ties date to 1979.

"He rises up every time," Marlins manager Tony Perez said. "He waves to the fans, then hits one out. It's not easy to do. He's a beautiful guy."

Ripken, who homered the nights he tied and broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record in 1995, received a standing ovation before each at-bat.

"You're caught between emotions," he said. "You want to stay calm so you can compete and hit a 97 mph fastball. You also want to let yourself go and acknowledge the support and magic coming from the stands. But then you have to put your game face on."

Ripken, batting with two outs and a runner on first against A.J. Burnett (7-5), lined a drive that barely cleared the scoreboard.

Ripken also homered to win MVP honors at the All-Star game in Seattle a week ago and hit a pair of long balls in his final game in Atlanta on Saturday.

CUBS 7, ROYALS 4: Ricky Gutierrez hit a two-run single, and Sammy Sosa and Gary Matthews Jr. added RBIs as the host Cubs rallied for five runs in the seventh inning.

MARINERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 1: Paul Abbott (8-2) won his career-best sixth straight decision, and Bret Boone and David Bell homered for Seattle at Safeco Field.

WHITE SOX 8, BREWERS 4: Kip Wells (6-5) struck out a career-high eight in six innings and Chicago used four home runs at Miller Park to win its fifth straight. The White Sox (46-45) moved over .500 for the first time since losing their second game of the season.

ATHLETICS 3, ROCKIES 2: Mark Mulder (11-6) allowed seven hits in seven innings to win his third straight start as host Oakland completed a three-game sweep, winning for the eighth time in nine games.

ANGELS 8, PADRES 7: One of Benji Gil's two homers for host Anaheim was a tying, three-run shot in the eighth. San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman walked in the go-ahead run in the ninth.

BRAVES 4, DEVIL RAYS 0: Greg Maddux (12-5) won his sixth straight start, pitching a six-hitter for his 34th career shutout and lowering his ERA to an NL-best 2.44. Chipper Jones' 28th homer put host Atlanta ahead.

EXPOS 11, RED SOX 7: Vladimir Guerrero and Lee Stevens hit two-run homers as Montreal avoided a sweep. Manny Ramirez hit his 28th home run for visiting Boston.

GIANTS 10, RANGERS 2: Eric Davis and Rich Aurilia hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Kirk Rueter (9-6) won his fifth straight decision for the visiting Giants. Davis had five RBIs.

Barry Bonds was 1-for-2 with two walks. He has just one homer the past 19 games, leaving him with 40 in 94 games — which matches Mark McGwire's total after the same number of games in 1998, when he hit a record 70.

METS 1, BLUE JAYS 0: Al Leiter (6-8) went seven innings, and Mike Piazza singled in the only run as New York became the last major league team to sweep a series this season and extended its scoreless streak to 23 innings. Toronto dropped to 0-9 at Shea Stadium.

TIGERS 3, REDS 1: Jeff Weaver (9-8) retired 18 in a row and pitched into the eighth inning on a hot, muggy night for visiting Detroit.

YANKEES 4, PHILLIES 1 (12): Tino Martinez's RBI single in the 12th inning drove in the go-ahead run, and Jorge Posada added a two-run homer as visiting New York won its second straight in extra innings after losing three of four following the All-Star break.

INDIANS 10, ASTROS 4: Bartolo Colon (8-7) allowed one hit through five innings before being ejected, and Jim Thome, Marty Cordova and Travis Fryman had two RBIs apiece at Enron Field.

CARDINALS 4, TWINS 2: Darryl Kile (10-7) allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings as host St. Louis completed a three-game sweep for its fourth straight win.


DODGERS 4, PIRATES 1: Adrian Beltre homered for the second consecutive game, and Terry Adams gave Los Angeles another well-pitched start to lead the Dodgers to a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The resilient Dodgers, troubled by pitching staff injuries all season, have won 14 of 19 to reduce Arizona's lead in the NL West to 2 1/2 games.