- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2001


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Jose Mercedes pitched 6-2/3 scoreless innings and Jeff Conine doubled home a run as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Anaheim Angels 1-0 last night.
Mercedes (5-12) won for the first time in five starts, scattering six hits while striking out three and walking two. The right-hander, who has the second-worst ERA in the league, combined with three relievers on the seven-hitter.
Ismael Valdes (7-6) allowed one run and five hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking three.
Playing before a crowd of 35,053 who came out to witness Cal Ripken's final game against the Angels, Anaheim was blanked for the ninth time this season sharing the league lead with Tampa Bay.
Buddy Groom followed B.J. Ryan and Mike Trombley out of the bullpen, getting four outs for his 10th save.
Mercedes worked with runners on base in each of the first five innings. In the second, he gave up a walk to Tim Salmon and a bloop single to center by Shawn Wooten that put runners at the corners.
Bengie Molina followed with a fly to center fielder Larry Bigbie, who made a perfect throw on the fly to nail Salmon at home. Catcher Brook Fordyce appeared to miss the tag, but umpire Derryl Cousins called Salmon out.
Valdes allowed only one hit through the first five innings, a sharp single through the box with one out in the third. Hairston stole second and Brady Anderson walked, but rookie Brian Roberts and Chris Richard struck out.
The Orioles didn't get another hit until the sixth. Richard singled with two outs and scored on Conine's double to right-center.
The Orioles wasted a leadoff double in the sixth by Ripken, who homered in his final games at Atlanta, Florida and Texas this month. Ripken was sacrificed to third by Bigbie, but Fordyce grounded to short and Jerry Hairston fouled out.
In a pregame ceremony, the Angels presented Ripken with a crystal trophy from Tiffany's, commemorating his final game in Anaheim.
The Angels won Saturday night's late game, but not all the fans went home happy.
For most of the 39,261 on hand at Edison Field, a chance to see Ripken play one last time never came about because Orioles manager Mike Hargrove gave him the night off and started Tony Batista at third base instead. The fact that the Angels won 6-4 with a four-run eighth was small consolation.
Batista, making his 12th start at third, was booed every time he came up. When he was jeered his last time up, Batista played to the fans, cupping his hand over his right ear to make it look like he was trying to hear them better.
"I think they wanted Cal," Batista said with a grin. "But they put me in the game tonight, so I've got to enjoy my day because I don't know if I'm going to play tomorrow. I had to be relaxed and do my job for the team and for myself."
Hargrove didn't find the fans' behavior amusing.
"This is the first time I've heard it," Hargrove said. "It's absolutely uncalled for. I mean, I know that they came to see Cal play, but Cal's just not going to play every day.
"He's playing more now than he did two months ago, so if people want to be sure they see Cal, they're going to have to buy tickets to every game. I can't be managing this team in that manner. I'm just not going to. It's not fair to Cal or the ballclub."
Scott Spiezio homered twice and Shawn Wooten took advantage of a reprieve to lead off Anaheim's four-run eighth inning with a home run as the Angels rallied from a 3-2 deficit against reliever Ryan Kohlmeier (1-1).
Wooten hit a foul popup that fell between Batista and shortstop Roberts down the left-field line. Two pitches later, Wooten homered off Kohlmeier to tie the game.
"Wooten hit the big home run to tie the game, and then we got some opportunities," Spiezio said. "But they only count when you cash them in."
Adam Kennedy singled one out later and scored when David Eckstein's drive to right-center eluded Bigbie and Richard for a triple. Kennedy scored on a groundout by Troy Glaus, and Garret Anderson added an RBI double.
Ben Weber (6-1) earned the victory with a scoreless inning of relief. Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances, allowing an RBI single by Richard.
Bigbie hit his first career homer and drove in another run with a single.
Baltimore rookie Willis Roberts allowed two runs Spiezio's homers in the fourth and sixth and seven hits in 5* innings.
Roberts left the game with an injured left knee, collapsing on the mound. Roberts was taken to the hospital. Hargrove said last night he may miss one start because of the swelling.
Bigbie, whose broken-bat pinch single in the 10th inning Friday gave the Orioles a 4-3 victory, led off the sixth against Pat Rapp with a homer to make it 3-1.
Rapp allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.

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