BALTIMORE, JUNE 21 -- At one point during those 40 days and 40 nights, Noah's wife said to him: "Noah, honey, it has to stop raining sometime."

Today, the rain stopped for the Baltimore Orioles. They then stepped off their ark and, before 27,420 at Memorial Stadium, promptly disappeared beneath a torrent called the Detroit Tigers.

The Orioles ended a five-game losing streak by getting the three outs that completed Saturday night's suspended game. Final score: 9-5.

In the regularly scheduled game, Orioles pitchers Ken Dixon, John Habyan and Tony Arnold gave up what is believed to be a club-record 12 extra base hits as the Tigers piled up as many home runs as the Orioles had hits. Final score: 9-3.

Detroit, which has won seven of nine games and 25 of 35 since starting the season 11-19, did so much damage in the second game that nobody even bothered to ask Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. about the first.

In that second game, Chet Lemon hit two home runs; Darrell Evans, Kirk Gibson and Matt Nokes each had a homer and a double, and Pat Sheridan had two doubles. In all the Tigers had at least one hit in every inning but the second.

To Ripken Sr., two words summed up the day: "sad pitching."

Tom Niedenfuer got the snowball rolling with an inning of less-than-scintillating relief while trying to complete Saturday's game. Gibson lined the second pitch of the afternoon up the right-center field alley for a double to begin the ninth inning of the game that was halted by league curfew at 1:02 this morning with the Orioles leading, 9-4.

After a groundout and a walk, it began to look as if the Orioles would need that one run that was scored in the eighth-inning rally that had so seemed frivilous and annoying when it was preventing the ninth inning from getting started before 1 a.m. But after Lemon's fly ball scored Gibson, Niedenfuer, with the bullpen warming up behind him, got Mike Heath to ground out to end the game.

The game, the 14th AL game at Memorial Stadium to be suspended by curfew, took 3 hours 12 minutes to play (3:04 Saturday night/this morning), but required 14 hours 58 minutes of waiting (2:23 rain delay, 12:23 curfew delay).

Niedenfuer didn't pitch prettily but he got the job done, giving him his second save and Eric Bell his sixth victory.

Dixon didn't pitch prettily in the second game and didn't get the job done. He left after 3 2/3 innings, having given up seven hits, five earned runs and three homers (he has given up 20 for season). Habyan and Arnold didn't fare much better.

"There's not a lot you can say about that," Ripken said.

There's not much more you can say about a solution. The Orioles aren't hitting enough to offset their pitching. They got only five hits today off Dan Petry (4-4) and Eric King (fifth save). In the last seven games, the last five players in their batting order have hit .180.

The club could always send Dixon (3-7) to Class AAA Rochester, but as Ripken said, "we're already supposed to have the best they have available up here and he's only going to face lesser hitters at the AAA level."

A trade? Ripken said Orioles General Manager Hank Peters "is on the phone to five or six clubs every day, but the people who have pitching aren't parting with it."

LaMarr Hoyt? "We're exploring it," Ripken said.

How about just trying to straighten out Dixon? "He's having no problem getting to 0-2 and 1-2 in the count," pitching coach Mark Wiley said. "That's when pitchers put 'em away."

Not Dixon.

First inning. First batter. Lou Whitaker swings at an 0-2 pitch and doubles to right-center.

Third inning. Gibson hits an 0-2 pitch over the Tigers bullpen.

Fourth inning. Lemon hits a 3-2 pitch over the Orioles bullpen to give Detroit a 5-0 lead.

So much for Dixon, who has allowed 14 hits, nine earned runs and six home runs in two starts since being freed from the bullpen.

So much for Baltimore, which has lost six of its last seven, 16 of 18 and 20 of 23.

"It just doesn't seem right," Dixon said. "Everytime I get two strikes and I put the ball anywhere they can hit it, they hit it out of the ballpark. Why doesn't anyone pop those pitches up? Why doesn't anyone pull those pitches down the line for one of those long strikes?"

Good questions. Any good answers?

"The one I hit out was a hanging pitch," said Gibson. "A mistake. It's just that we really jumped on his mistakes. I mean you guys are looking to put all the blame on him. I think the credit should go both ways."

"The fact that they are losing just exacerbates things," said Lemon, who hit his second homer of the game in the eighth. "If Dixon goes out, gives up three {one-run homers} and they win, 5-3, people wouldn't be noticing those things as much."

But the Orioles are losing and people are noticing.

"It's easy to break things down," Ripken said. "I want to try and build things up."

Orioles Notes:

The Scott McGregor Saga drags on. Ripken today made it official: it's back to the bullpen for the 33-year-old left-hander, and with what amounts to vote of no confidence. McGregor started against the Yankees last Thursday in New York and lasted 3 2/3 innings. He gave up six earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He replaced right-hander Luis DeLeon Saturday night when left-hand hitting Darrell Evans was announced as a pinch hitter with one on and one out in the eighth. McGregor, whose record is 2-7 and ERA is 6.06, gave up a single to Evans and was replaced by right-hander Niedenfuer. The first batter Niedenfuer faced was Whitaker, who hits left-handed.

The big question now is, who will take McGregor's turn in the rotation Tuesday night when the Orioles play the second of a three-game series against the Yankees. So far, Ripken has scheduled "Undecided," meaning Mike Boddicker or Dave Schmidt. The most likely candidates would seem to be Habyan or Arnold . . .

Fred Lynn sat out yesterday with a sprained ligament in his right knee and a strained left leg. The first, and more severe, injury occurred in the first inning Saturday night. He slipped on the wet field trying to hold up at third base after Tigers third baseman Tom Brookens had thrown away a grounder. Lynn is expected to be out for two or three days.