- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2001

ANAHEIM, Calif. Cal Ripken, who has found a groove in the last month or so, really enjoyed himself Friday night.
But no, he hasn't changed his mind. He's still retiring after this season.
Just like in the All-Star Game earlier this month, Ripken hit the first pitch he saw for a home run. He also drew an intentional walk during Baltimore's 10th-inning rally as the Orioles beat the Anaheim Angels 4-3.
Pinch hitter Larry Bigbie, a 23-year-old rookie, hit a broken-bat single with two outs and the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run. It was the second RBI of his career.
But this was mostly another big night for Ripken, who has had quite a few recently.
"It's important for me to play well down the stretch, and I hope I continue it," said Ripken, who announced June 19 that he would retire at the end of his 20th full season. "I was really enjoying myself in extra innings, a well-played game, both teams trying to win. Even though you've been through it for 19 or 20 years, it was exciting to be out there in a pressure-filled game."
Ripken has hit safely in eight straight games and 28 of his last 31 while batting .339 (37-for-109) to raise his overall mark to .259.
So, is he still going to retire?
"Oh, yeah, no doubt about it," Ripken said with a smile. "Once I know it's the end, it allows you to enjoy it at a different level."
The win was only Orioles' fourth in 22 games and snapped a five-game losing streak. The Angels lost for just the third time in 12 games.
Melvin Mora reached on shortstop David Eckstein's error to open the 10th against Al Levine (5-5) and took second on Jeff Conine's flyout to right.
Ripken was then walked intentionally, and pinch hitter Jay Gibbons grounded out. Chris Richard drew another intentional walk before Bigbie blooped a single.
Left fielder Orlando Palmeiro threw Ripken out at the plate on the play to end the inning, but the Orioles had the run they needed to win.
"I'll remember this one nothing compares to something like this," Bigbie said of his first game-winning hit. "It was good to get in there. I've got to take my opportunities when I get them. I know my role on this team."
Mike Trombley (3-3) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the victory. Buddy Groom, the third Baltimore pitcher, worked the 10th for his ninth save in 11 chances.
Ripken, playing his final series at Edison International Field, received a standing ovation from the crowd of 39,616 before his first at-bat and then hit his 12th homer just like in the All-Star Game.
Ripken acknowledged the cheers by tipping his helmet before hitting Scott Schoeneweis' first pitch of the second inning into the left-field seats to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
"I guess that'll be my last chance to hang a slider to Cal before he goes in the Hall of Fame," Schoeneweis said. "He's a legend. You have to give him his due and his respect."
The Angels tied it against Jason Johnson in the fourth when Troy Glaus doubled past the diving Ripken down the left-field line and scored on a pair of infield outs.
Run-scoring singles by Brian Roberts and Mora in the fifth gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
Glaus hit his 26th homer in the sixth, and the Angels tied it in the seventh when Scott Spiezio scored as Bengie Molina was hitting into a double play.
Johnson, who entered the game with three of his team's four victories in July, allowed two earned runs and four hits in seven innings. Schoeneweis gave up three runs and nine hits in eight innings.
Notes Ripken was saluted during the day at nearby Disneyland. "He and the family really enjoyed it," said John Maroon, Ripken's spokesman. "They went on a couple of rides before they came to the ballpark. Disney really rolled out the red carpet for him, it was really cool." …
Roberts, who had three hits, extended his hitting streak to 10 games… . Molina flied out with runners at first and third in the ninth.

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