TORONTO, SEPT. 14 -- For harried Baltimore Manager Cal Ripken Sr., tonight's 18-3 loss to Toronto was "perfect" in only one way. It offered the ideal opportunity to end shortstop Cal Jr.'s consecutive-inning streak.

So, when the Orioles took the field in the bottom of the eighth, Ron Washington was at shortstop and Ripken Jr. was a spectator, for the first time in 8,243 innings dating back to June 4, 1982.

"It felt strange to be out of the game," Ripken Jr. said. "It's a long time since I sat on the bench. I came in {the dressing room} and then I went back out and watched. It was a weird feeling and I need time to reflect on it.

"I was surprised, a little. But I always approached it as not that big a deal. I just looked at the lineup, my name was there, so I played. I never thought about how it would end.

"The manager makes decisions and the player abides by them. He said, 'If you hit {in the eighth}, you're going to come out.' I said, 'All right.' In this case, the manager is my dad, but that doesn't change anything. I hit and I came out."

Ripken Sr. said he had been thinking about making the move for some time and "tonight worked out to be a perfect time to do it. I wanted to take that monkey off his back . . . I wanted to get everybody to stop writing articles about the consecutive-inning streak . . . Playing games wasn't wearing on him, but all those articles were."

Ripken has been struggling. His average is .250, and over the last 109 games, he is batting .225.

His consecutive game streak is now at 908 and nobody considers that a burden. Asked if his son would be back at shortstop Tuesday, Ripken Sr. replied, "You're darn right, he will be."