Cal Ripken enjoyed his first two-homer game tonight and a Memorial Stadium crowd of 44,252 found the Baltimore Orioles' 9-2 rout of the Oakland A's pretty enjoyable, too.
Joining Ripken with three hits was Dan Ford, who had a homer, double and single. Baltimore had 13 hits, seven for extra bases, against Mike Norris and Matt Keough.
The Orioles sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run fifth inning that made it easy for right-hander Dennis Martinez to end his four-game losing streak.
"When I see nine runs up there, that helps a lot," said Martinez, whose eight-hit yield included homers by Bob Kearney and Kelvin Moore. "One and five--I never started that way before. I say, 'That's got to be changed real fast.' May is a new month. April's gone; forget it."
Ripken's rousing rookie season is gone, too, but there was a reminder of it before the game, when he was presented the trophy as American League rookie of the year. Then he went out and showed there is little to fear about a sophomore jinx.
Ripken's first homer sailed over the 387-foot sign in left-center field and put Baltimore in front, 2-1, in the third inning. The next time up, in the fifth, Ripken hit a screwball into the left-field seats for another two-run homer that made it 5-2 and finished Norris.
"I've been struggling a bit, except for one game against California, and tonight I concentrated on looking for the ball," Ripken said. "When I'm slumping, it's because I'm not seeing the ball well. It throws my body off and gets me off balance.
"I hit that first one real well, right on a sweet spot, but I didn't think it would go out. I was just hoping it would go over (Dwayne) Murphy's head. The second one, there wasn't much doubt.
"There's something about a big crowd, especially at home, that gets me going. You know everyone's rooting for you and it makes your concentration a little sharper and gets the adrenaline flowing."
Many in the unexpectedly big crowd, lured in large part by free beer coolers, were still snarled in traffic when Ripken was involved in the first of three double plays at shortstop.
Rickey Henderson opened the game with a single and had broken for second when Mike Davis bounced one back to Martinez. The pitcher's throw arrived a moment before Henderson, but Ripken was able to unload his throw and double up Davis.
It was a big play for Martinez's confidence, because his failure to execute a similar play led to a seven-run inning by Texas in his last start here.
Ripken made another outstanding play in the third, when Davis grounded one near second base after Tony Phillips broke from first. Ripken fielded the ball, tagged the bag with his glove, stepped back out of Phillips' path, then doubled Davis.
"I couldn't tag him and my feet weren't in position to reach the base," Ripken said. "The only thing I could do was tag the base with my glove. I thought the umpire called him safe and, to be honest, I wasn't sure that he was out. That was kind of strange, getting two double plays on the same guy and each time the runner was stealing."
Rick Dempsey started the Orioles' fifth with a double. After Al Bumbry grounded out, Dempsey scored the eventual game-winning run on Ford's single. Ripken's second homer brought on Keough, who provided no relief.
Eddie Murray singled, John Lowenstein walked and Rich Dauer lined a two-run double through the gap in right center. Dauer scored on Leo Hernandez's double down the left-field line.
Ford's first homer, which cleared the center-field fence in the sixth, completed the scoring.
The Orioles' two-run third inning should have produced three scores. Dempsey singled, then was forced by Bumbry, who was caught stealing before Ford doubled and Ripken homered. Earlier, Norris made a wild throw trying to pick Bumbry off first, only to have the ball strike umpire Joe Brinkman, preventing Bumbry from moving to second.