The Baltimore Orioles reached the season's halfway point tonight much the way they started it -- with a losing streak. Luckily for the O's, they did a lot better in between and remain baseball's winningest team, 3 1/2 games on top in the American League East.

The orioles broke out of their hitting slump against rookie pitcher Danny Darwin of the Texas Rangers, but this time the pitching failed the. Despite five runs in the first five innings, including home runs by Al Bumbry and Garry Roenicke, the Orioles lost to the Rangers, 9.5.

The zOrioles opened the season by losing eight of their first 11 games and tonight they came to the halfway point by dropping their third straight game to the Rangers, who have won 11 of 12 and become the AL's hottest team, replacing Baltimore.

In the first two games against Texas, the Orioles fell to the shutout pitching of Steve Comer and Ferguson Jenkins. The destruction tonight was done by the Rangers' bats.

Mike Flanagan gave up four runs in the first inning to start a 15-hit assault on four "oriole pitchers. Baltimore chipped away at deficits of 6-1 fifth on Doug De-cinces' RBI single.

But Jim Kern, Texas' ace reliever, shut out the Orioles on two hits through the last four innings, striking our nine, to preserve the victory for Darwin, Kern ran into some trouble in the ninth by walking Al Bumbry and yielding a pinch hit double off the center filed wall to Pat Kelly with nobody out. But he struck out Ken Singleton and Eddie Murray and got DeCinces on a grounder to third to end the game.

In the second, the Orioles ended their scoring drought after 20 innings.

Murray opened with a triple into the left field corner and came home on DeCinces' ground out to second.

After Texas increased its lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the second on John Ellis two-run double, Bumbry belted a two:run homer in the third, brining the o's within 6-3.

But the Rangers moved ahead, 7-3 in the bottom of the inning on Sundberg's single, a wild pitch by Martinez and Wills' single off Sammy Stewart.

Texas sealed the victory in the sixth by bringing in Kern and then adding a pair of runs on Wills' run-scoring triple to left-center and Samples' sacrifice fly.