The Baltimore Orioles play to get eight-plus innings from a starting pitcher and a three-run home run from Cal Ripken or Eddie Murray.

Tonight, Mike Boddicker gave them eight-plus innings and Ripken gave them a three-run homer, yet somewhere along the way they lost, 6-4, to the California Angels.

As light rain fell on a crowd of 13,893 most of the evening at Memorial Stadium, the Orioles did a couple of things right, but a dozen wrong. They allowed two stolen bases and made two errors and at least that many more misplays.

The Angels pecked out only eight singles and a double, but those weren't what beat the Orioles. What beat them was that Boddicker (4-1) walked three Angels and all three of them scored.

What beat them was that Boddicker hit a batter, Dick Schofield in the eighth, and Schofield scored. He also twice forgot to hold runners at first base, which, as Manager Earl Weaver said, "made little hits on the line worth as much as home runs."

The Angels didn't hit a homer, but didn't need one because Baltimore mistakes kept getting them in position to knock in runs, as each of Bob Boone's two singles did.

The Angels got just enough to hand the 20-16 Orioles their second loss in 10 games. At 21-17, the Angels top the American League West.

"You're going to have games like this," Weaver said. "The only thing that bothers me is the stolen bases. We're letting them run on us again, and I don't like that. We had no chance to throw them out, and when they wind up on second, it's tough to keep getting men out with runners in scoring position. Those aren't idiots in the other dugout. They see when the pitcher is taking too long to get the ball to the plate."

The Angels scored five runs after two were out, and stolen bases figured in two rallies. So did the Orioles' defense, which featured Juan Beniquez at third base for a slump-ridden Floyd Rayford.

The Angels scored in the first inning. Boddicker walked Ruppert Jones, who stole second and came in on Reggie Jackson's single to right.

An inning later, Boddicker walked Boone with one out. Gary Pettis chipped a single to right, and after Boddicker struck out Rob Wilfong, Wally Joyner lined an RBI single to right for a run. Jones chopped toward Beniquez, who fielded the ball but couldn't get it out of his glove. On the infield single, Pettis scored to make it 3-0.

In the third, it went to 4-0 with a similar plot. Brian Downing beat out an infield single, went to second on Beniquez's error and scored on Boone's single to right.

That did it until Boone singled Schofield home for a 5-1 lead in the eighth. Boddicker's last hitter was Wilfong, who drew a leadoff walk in the ninth, was bunted to second and scored on Downing's double off Don Aase.

"I walked more than this the game before, but they didn't score," Boddicker said. "The point is that if you win, it doesn't matter. If you don't win, you look terrible. There were a lot of ground balls that found holes. I didn't do a good job holding a couple runners on, but I was concentrating on getting the guy at the plate."

The Angels got 7 1/3 strong innings from starter Kirk McCaskill (3-3), but McCaskill allowed Ripken's three-run homer in the eighth to put the Orioles within 5-4.

McCaskill, 25, walked off the field and slammed his glove into the dugout thinking Ripken's homer had tied the game, 4-4.

"Look," he said, pointing to the scoreboard. "They've got the wrong score up there."

No, he was told, you're ahead, 5-4. Oh, he said.

Regardless, Donnie Moore, pitching for the first time since May 8 (sore shoulder), faced five Orioles and retired them all to end it.

McCaskill was at his best when he had to be, striking out Ripken twice with runners on and getting Murray to ground out with two on in the fifth.

"He had a lot of forkballs, a lot of fire," California Manager Gene Mauch said. "He handled Ripken good, but he got one where he could handle it. I was hoping Donnie would have a softer go his first time out, but he was ready."

The Orioles got a cheapie run in the third inning. Alan Wiggins and Lee Lacy led off with singles, and after McCaskill struck out Fred Lynn, Murray beat out what was scored as an RBI infield hit.

They left six runners on in the first five innings, but McCaskill retired them in order in the sixth and seventh before Lacy led off with eighth with a double to right. He struck out Lynn again, but Murray beat out another infield hit, and Ripken broke from a five-for-38 slump to hit his first homer since April 29.

"We did the things we usually have to do to win," Weaver said.

With Boddicker's loss, Boston's Roger Clemens (7-0) is the only unbeaten starter in the AL . . . Before Boddicker tore ligament in his right middle finger, he had walked seven batters in 21 innings. Since then, he has walked 18 in 23 2/3 innings . . . The Orioles are 1-8 in games when they've made two or more errors. They have allowed first-inning runs in eight of their last 14 games . . .

Tippy Martinez began his rehabilitation work for Class AAA Rochester tonight by allowing four runs and five hits in two innings.