CLEVELAND, JULY 29 -- On a night on which he was neither sharp nor especially tricky, Eric Bell nonetheless continued to fulfill many of the Baltimore Orioles' hopes for him.

He ended up completing a game he easily could have been removed from in the first five innings, winning his third straight start as the Orioles beat Cleveland, 7-4, before 8,393 at Cleveland Stadium.

The victory was the 15th in 20 games for the Orioles (46-55) and ended a two-game losing streak. If that was a good sign, Bell's performance was even more so and was another indication of his maturing process.

"He didn't have his better stuff, but he still pitched well," Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. said. "He didn't have a real good breaking ball, but he moved everything around and threw strikes."

The victory raised Bell's record to 9-7, making him the Orioles' second-biggest winner. He did it despite allowing 10 hits and striking out only two. In his two starts before tonight, he had struck out 21 in 17 2/3 innings, and the Orioles say his winning without great stuff was important.

"Early in the year, he wouldn't have gotten out of the third inning with stuff like he had tonight," catcher Terry Kennedy said. "He could only throw one pitch for a strike {his fastball}, but he did throw it for a strike. A game like this has to give him confidence as well as give us confidence in him."

Bell also was helped by the fact the Orioles scored seven runs, this after they'd gotten a total of 12 in their five previous games. They did it by collecting 12 hits off three Cleveland pitchers. They got home runs from Mike Young and Ken Gerhart and, in the seventh inning of a 3-3 tie, scored the game-winner on an error by third baseman Brook Jacoby.

It didn't start this way. Bell got the Indians in order in the first, then struggled for the next four innings as Cleveland scored single runs in the second, third and fifth innings. In the second, it was Jacoby's 20th homer that gave the Indians a 1-0 lead and, in the third, it was a leadoff double by Jay Bell and a single by Brett Butler that produced a run.

Trailing, 2-0, the Orioles came back to take a 3-2 lead off Indians starter Tom Candiotti (3-11) in the fourth. The rally began with two outs. After Kennedy singled to left after fouling off three two-strike pitches, Young hit a 3-2 curveball over the right-field wall. Gerhart then followed with a homer over the left-field wall.

The Indians came back to tie it in the fifth when Butler got a one-out single, stole second and scored on Tommy Hinzo's single.

Candiotti didn't survive the seventh as the Orioles scored three times for a 6-3 lead. Young started the inning with a single and, after Gerhart popped up a bunt, Candiotti walked Jim Dwyer. With the hit-and-run on, Bill Ripken hit a bouncer that bounced off Jacoby's glove at third and into left field. Young scored on the error and, with runners on first and second, Cal Ripken Jr. singled to left to score another.

Indians manager Doc Edwards brought in reliever Ed Vande Berg. Eddie Murray hit a bouncer to Jacoby, who threw to second for one out. But with a chance for a double play, Hinzo threw wildly toward first, allowing Bill Ripken to score the third run for a 6-3 lead. Ripken Sr. then left Bell in for the complete game, although the Indians put runners on base in each of the last three innings and scored in the ninth on Carmen Castillo's home run.

"It wasn't that I couldn't throw strikes," Bell said. "It was just that I wasn't throwing good strikes. Everything was up a little bit. I also had some hard outs that our guys caught. I'm glad he left me in there. That shows some confidence in me, and I'm glad to see it."