- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2001


ST. PETERBURG, Fla. (AP) Cal Ripken threw out the ceremonial first pitch before his final game in Florida, then hit an RBI single as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-4 last night.
Jeff Conine had four hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs for Baltimore. Chris Richard hit a tiebreaking triple in the eighth inning.
Tampa Bay had won six straight home games, tying a team record.
Ripken, who turns 41 today, was honored in pregame ceremonies and tossed out the first ball to Hal McRae. The Tampa Bay manager played in Ripken's first major league game in 1981.
Ripken had homered in all five previous farewell cities since the All-Star break, but was limited to two singles in the series against the Devil Rays.
The announced crowd was 29,018. The attendance for the first two games of the series at Tropicana Field totaled 25,360.
Richard's go-ahead hit off Victor Zambrano (5-2) followed a disputed triple by Tony Batista. The umpires gave Batista a triple after a fan touched his one-hop, opposite-field drive to deep right-center.
Richard scored on Melvin Mora's single that made it 5-3. Conine homered in the ninth.
Jorge Julio (1-0) got two outs to record his first major league win. Willis Roberts got the final out for his fifth save in seven chances.
Conine hit RBI singles in the first and third innings. His solo homer in the ninth gave him six RBI in two games.
Ripken lined a run-scoring single that made it 3-0 in the fifth. Despite driving in one just run in the series, Ripken has 13 RBI in his last nine games.
Jared Sandberg got Tampa Bay within 3-1 with a run-scoring double in the fifth. The Devil Rays tied it at 3 on Randy Winn's two-run triple in the seventh.
Winn knocked in his third run of the game with an RBI single in the ninth.
Tampa Bay starter Nick Bierbrodt allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings. Baltimore's Josh Towers gave up three runs and five hits over 6-1/3 innings.

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