ARLINGTON, TEX., JULY 31 -- John Habyan turned in an outstanding relief performance, and Eddie Murray hit two of the Baltimore Orioles' five home runs as they overpowered the Texas Rangers, 8-4, before 28,228 at Arlington Stadium tonight.

The Orioles also got homers from Larry Sheets, Ken Gerhart and Mike Young to win for the 16th time in 22 games. Sheets' homer broke a personal zero-for-22 slump, and, for the Orioles, a 4-4 tie in the eighth inning.

Murray hit a two-run homer off Charlie Hough (11-7) in the first inning, then added the 300th of his career off Dale Mohorcic in the ninth. The second homer put him three behind Boog Powell on the Orioles' all-time list.

"That's Eddie," Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. said. "The guy can hit. No, the guy is a great hitter. No one can dispute that, and he has really been swinging well lately."

The homers flew out on a 92-degree night as Habyan (3-3) produced his second straight victory in relief, allowing one single and three walks in 4 2/3 shutout innings. Tom Niedenfuer got two outs for his sixth save.

Habyan hadn't pitched in nine days, not since his 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. He's certain to see more action now, especially after three other relievers let late leads slip away twice in three nights at Cleveland this week.

Habyan's performance against Chicago saved him a demotion to Class AAA Rochester, and tonight he demonstrated again that he belongs in the big leagues. He entered the game in the fourth with the Orioles leading, 4-3, and allowed the tying run on Ruben Sierra's single. The run belonged to starter Dave Schmidt.

He allowed three more base runners, all on walks, and retired 10 in a row from the fifth until the ninth. He has put together 11 scoreless innings, allowing only five base runners in that stretch.

"I'm trying to stay in this groove," he said. "I haven't been pitching that much, but, when I do get a chance, I want to show 'em I can do the job. I'm still learning the hitters, and that's one thing being in the bullpen has done. I'm seeing how our guys pitch the other team, and I'm watching how pitchers throw to our guys. It's really an education."

He again pitched with his best friend screaming words of encouragement in his ear, and after the game, Bill Ripken handed Habyan a celebration beer.

"Did he scream at me?" Habyan asked. "Yes, but he screams at me every day, anyway."

The Orioles (47-56) got their first four homers off Hough, who allowed 10 hits and struck out 10 in 8 1/3 innings. He was alternately wonderful and terrible, one moment throwing an unhittable knuckleball, another laying a big fat one over the middle of the plate.

"He's not going to pitch too many games when he gives up {a club record-tying} four home runs," Texas Manager Bobby Valentine said. "He didn't have good rhythm at the beginning, then got into a groove. It was one of those up-and-downers."

Still, Hough was in a 4-4 tie as the eighth began. He first faced Sheets, who had stranded seven base runners in three games at Cleveland and had struck out in the first, third and fifth innings tonight.

This time, though, Hough made a mistake. Sheets had his 17th homer, and the Orioles a 5-4 lead.

"He had me confused, to say the least," Sheets said. "Before I went up the last time, they reminded me that I was seeing the ball out front, but not following it to the bat. I had been trying to pull everything, and this one I just tried to hit up the middle. I'd really been struggling, and a guy like Hough can make you look bad."

In the ninth, Gerhart hit his 12th homer, and, after Bill Ripken walked, Murray went deep again to make it 8-4.

Murray was on base four times with the two homers, a single and a walk, raising his average to .269. He has 28 RBI in his last 25 games, and his season total of 72 is sixth-highest in the American League. With 25 homers, he trails only Mark McGwire and George Bell.

Schmidt left after 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. It was only the third time in 11 starts he failed to finish six innings, and an indication of his problem was that he entered the game averaging 1.6 walks per nine innings but gave up three tonight.

The Orioles got him a 2-0 lead in the first as Bill Ripken doubled to left and Murray slapped Hough's knuckleball over the center field wall.

The Rangers closed it to 2-1 in the bottom of the first: Scott Fletcher got an infield single, went to third on Schmidt's wild pickoff throw and scored on Pete O'Brien's single to right.

In the second, the Orioles made it 4-1, Young's 12th homer following Terry Kennedy's infield single.

The Rangers came back with a run in the third and two in the fourth. In the third, Jerry Browne got a leadoff walk and stole second. Fletcher struck out, but Schmidt walked Sierra, and O'Brien got another RBI single.

In the fourth, Oddibe McDowell led off with a single. Geno Petralli flied to center, and Steve Buechele walked. Schmidt got Browne on a fly to left, then departed after Fletcher lined an RBI single to right. Habyan came on and stayed until he walked Browne with one out in the ninth, leaving Niedenfuer to finish up.