MILWAUKEE, AUG. 5 -- After a second straight day of pregame intramurals, the game was a poor followup act for the Baltimore Orioles, and they played it that way.
Teddy Higuera pitched a six-hitter and struck out 10 and Steve Kiefer hit a two-run homer to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-1 victory over the lifeless Orioles before 14,821 at County Stadium tonight.
The loss was the third straight for the Orioles (48-59) and their ninth straight to Milwaukee, including eight this season. The Orioles remain in sixth place in the American League East and are a numbing 4-30 against the five teams ahead of them.
The latest loss came on the day the club announced the suspension of infielder Alan Wiggins after he and Manager Cal Ripken Jr. were involved in a clubhouse scuffle. A day earlier, Wiggins had exchanged heated words with Ripken.
Orioles starter Eric Bell (9-8) allowed the Brewers four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. The big hits against him were Kiefer's homer and Robin Yount's two-run single in the fifth.
"I was overthrowing a little," Bell said, "and I made some mistakes. The pitch to Yount wasn't where I wanted it. It was just one of those nights."
Orioles second baseman Bill Ripken had three hits off Higuera (11-8), who struck out five Orioles in a row in the seventh and eighth innings and allowed only one baserunner after the sixth.
"I felt strong at the end," Higuera said. "This is important. I just want the team to finish up strong. I hope the team is in the pack. Of course, I want to finish strong so I can help the team make a run."
The Orioles led, 1-0, after an inning when Ken Gerhart drew a leadoff walk, went to third on the first of Bill Ripken's hits and scored on Cal Ripken Jr.'s sacrifice fly.
They came close only once after that, loading the bases with one out in the sixth. But Higuera got out of that by getting Fred Lynn to hit into an inning-ending double play. Lynn was taken off the disabled list earlier in the day and was playing for the first time since July 20.
The 1-0 lead held up until the fourth when Greg Brock got a two-out single and scored on Kiefer's homer to center.
The Brewers made it 4-1 in the fourth. Juan Castillo singled. Dale Sveum popped a bunt in front of the plate. Bell came in, but the ball ticked off his glove and rolled into foul territory for a hit. Had he caught the ball, he probably would have doubled Castillo off first.
"I was trying to hook-slide and catch it," Bell said. "That was bad. I just should have dived straight on and caught it because I could see it all the way. That turned out to be a big play. If they don't score, we're in it all the way."
After Sveum's hit, Paul Molitor bunted the runners to second and third, and Yount scored both of them with a single to center.
"Higuera threw the ball very well," Ripken Sr. said, "but we also hit some balls hard that got caught. If a couple of those hadn't been caught, it would have made a big difference, needless to say."
Scott McGregor has tightness in his left shoulder and may miss his scheduled start Sunday against Texas . . . Ray Knight's homer Tuesday gives the Orioles nine players with 10 or more homers. No major league team has ever had 10 players with 10 or more homers, and the Orioles are only the 10th team in history to have nine. The 1985 Orioles were the last team to do it.