BALTIMORE, JULY 25 -- They chanted "Eddie, Eddie," just like the old times. All of a sudden, it seems appropriate again.

If you closed your eyes at Memorial Stadium tonight, you may have gone back in time. But it was here and now, as Eddie Murray's 22nd home run of the season gave the Orioles their 11th consecutive victory, by a 4-3 count over the Kansas City Royals and their ace, Bret Saberhagen, before 36,472.

Mark Williamson pitched 1 1/3 innings over the seventh and eighth, and, although allowing a tying run, got his fifth victory.

But the Orioles' incredible streak continued tonight because of a tough performance by Baltimore starter Dave Schmidt (who didn't have his best pitches), an inning of two-strikeout relief by Tom Niedenfuer for his fifth save, and Murray, who hit an 0-1 pitch deep into the right field bleachers with two out and none on.

"I think he was looking for an offspeed pitch," Saberhagen (15-5) said. "It was a good pitch. He jumped on it."

"Eddie's been one of the premier players for the last 11 years and showed us again tonight," Schmidt (still 10-2) said. "We've all done it before in our back yards, right? Hit a home run to win it. Well, this isn't the back yard and he's been doing this for a long time."

Schmidt went 6 2/3 innings, throwing 83 pitches. The control that has helped him to the fourth-leading earned run average in the American League (2.93 after tonight) was lacking. He walked three and struck out five, but fell behind in the count to 11 hitters.

Nonetheless, he left the game ahead by a run, having gotten out of a number of tough situations.

"I look at my job as to go as hard as I can from the first inning on and then being honest with the manager when he comes out there," he said. "I told him {Cal Ripken Sr.} I was getting tired."

Tonight's heat -- 95 degrees at game time -- was not worse than last Sunday in Kansas City, where Schmidt went seven innings and earned a 5-1 victory, Schmidt said. "I would have liked to go a little further, but that was it for me."

Williamson came on and got Angel Salazar to ground out to end the inning. But in the eighth, with one out, Bo Jackson (three for four) bunted for a single. Catcher Mike Macfarlane, playing his second major league game, hit a bloop single in front of left fielder Mike Young that moved Jackson to third.

Pinch hitter Thad Bosley drove Jackson home with a sacrifice fly that tied the score at 3.

But in the home eighth, after Bill Ripken grounded to second and Cal Ripken Jr. flied to left, Murray took Saberhagen deep. "I wish it could have been the other way around, me fooling him," Saberhagen said.

Niedenfuer then shut the door, striking out Jim Eisenreich and Danny Tartabull to end the game.

"Well, you don't get too many leads on Saberhagen," Niedenfuer said. The reliever has pitched demonstrably better since the all-star break when, he said, he thought about anything but baseball.

"I was trying to impress everyone {before the break}. Instead of throwing in the low 90s {mph} I was trying to throw 96, 97, which I'm not capable of doing," he said.

"The big thing is that our younger guys have gotten their feet on the ground," Manager Ripken said of his team's recent pitching. "We've been trying to get our young guys to get ahead in the count and pitch ahead. Now everyone is doing that."

The Orioles scored first. Terry Kennedy singled in the second inning and Young, after forcing him, went to third on a hit-and-run single by Larry Sheets and home on Ken Gerhart's sacrifice fly.

It was the first earned run off the Kansas City staff in 29 2/3 innings.

The Royals took the lead in the fourth. With one out, Tartabull singled, and Frank White followed with a double in the gap between center fielder Gerhart and right fielder Sheets to move Tartabull to third.

With the crowd riding Jackson mercilessly, Schmidt struck him out looking for the second out. But, after Jackson argued the call vehemently, Schmidt on his next pitch threw a change to Macfarlane -- "a stupid pitch," Schmidt said -- that Macfarlane made into his first major league hit, driving in Tartabull and White.

"He's a big league hitter but, still, I didn't think I should have given up a hit after getting the strikeout for the second out," Schmidt said.

Baltimore scored twice in the fifth. Ron Washington led off with a triple that looked like a sure inside-the-park homer after center fielder Willie Wilson and Tartabull collided near the fence in right center, leaving Washington nothing to do but circle the bases.

But third base coach Jimmy Williams held Washington with a triple. Alan Wiggins made the point moot, though, by singling to left for a 2-2 tie.

Bill Ripken's grounder moved Wiggins to second. Saberhagen had almost picked him off first twice, and tried his luck a third time.

But his throw to second went into center field and Wiggins went to third. Cal Ripken Jr. made him pay with a grounder that took a hop over shortstop Salazar for a single to give Baltimore a 3-2 lead.

Schmidt stranded Jackson after a two-out triple in the sixth, but Kansas City scored in the eighth, setting up Murray for his homer and a curtain call he didn't take. Nor did he come out after the game. Some things may have changed after all.

Orioles Notes:

The last time Baltimore won four home games in a row was almost a year ago (July 24-27 and Aug. 5) . . . The Orioles' bullpen had not allowed a run in the last 16 innings and six games before the one Jackson scored in the eighth off Williamson.