BALTIMORE, AUG. 15 -- It was a typical Mike Flanagan performance. And if you've been where he has this season, it should be clear just how important it is for him to get back to normal.

He threw a six-hitter, but unlike most times this season, the Orioles scored enough -- just enough for him to walk away with the win, his first complete game victory since September 1984, a 2-1 decision in front of 25,243 elated fans at Memorial Stadium.

Larry Sheets' two-run single in the sixth inning scored Eddie Murray and Lee Lacy with the runs that ruined Ted Higuera's six-hitter.

In 124 pitches, Flanagan struck out seven and walked four (one intentionally). He had one 2-0 count after the fifth inning and only three ball-three counts after the fifth.

Flanagan had been pitching this way before. In six starts since coming back from the disabled list July 17, he has allowed three runs or less five times. His reward before tonight was four consecutive no-decisions.

"To win 2-1, you obviously don't do it by yourself," said Flanagan, who retired the last seven batters and allowed only one runner after the sixth.

He was speaking of a host of defensive plays by the Orioles, including a double play he started in the sixth with the bases loaded, left fielder Sheets' running catch of Robin Yount's sinking liner to lead off the eighth and a rundown in the fifth with the bases loaded that began when Ron Washington stopped Paul Molitor's smash.

Molitor extended his hitting streak to 30 games in the first with a flare down the right field line that fell amongst Murray, Bill Ripken and right fielder Lacy.

Molitor's streak ties George Brett for the second-longest streak in the American League this decade, and is one short of Ken Landreaux's 31-game streak in 1980, the longest streak in the American League since Dom DiMaggio's 34-game streak in 1949.

But Molitor said, given Higuera's fate, keeping the streak alive was of little solace.

"When you get a game pitched as well as Ted then you think you should win those games," he said. "It was nice to have it continue but it definitely puts a damper on it to lose a game like that."

Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. said, "We got a great pitched ball game, we played very well defensively and we had timely hitting to get runs. It's a combination game; I don't care how you look at it."

Flanagan and Higuera got through the first four innings giving up a total of three hits. In the Milwaukee fifth, Dale Sveum led off with a single to left. B.J. Surhoff followed with a single to right and Steve Kiefer lined a single to left to load the bases.

But Flanagan got out of it only giving up a run, and even that was hardly his fault. Juan Castillo flied out to Lacy, but Sveum held at third. Nonetheless, Lacy threw home -- past Murray, the cutoff man, and past catcher Floyd Rayford. Sveum scored easily on the error.

Then Molitor hit a hard one-hopper to third. Washington, playing in and expecting a bunt, got his glove out in time to snare the ball. His throw got Surhoff by 25 feet, and Flanagan ultimately made the putout in a 5-2-6-1 rundown.

"I hit the ball solidly and it turned out to be a big play," Molitor said.

A bigger play came in the sixth when Milwaukee again loaded the bases, this time with one out. Surhoff hit a smash up the middle that Flanagan somehow gloved, starting a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.

"That was pure luck," Flanagan said. "The ball went right in my glove. That's the sort of break I haven't gotten all year . . . To me, that was the turning point in the game."

The Orioles did indeed turn things around in their half. Murray singled up the middle, the first Orioles leadoff hitter to reach. After Fred Lynn struck out, Lacy doubled to left to get Murray to third. Sheets then hit the first pitch, a fastball, up the middle for the two RBI.

"I looked up just before I hit and I saw the infielders back," he said. "I thought they might be up. But since they were back I was just trying to hit the ball up the middle. I figured if they got to it a run would still score."

That was it for the offense. But Flanagan had more help from the guys behind him, as evidenced in the eighth when Sheets robbed Yount of a leadoff hit.

"You can't do that when you DH," Sheets said. "It makes it a lot more enjoyable out there."

"It was just one of those games where you get into the flow," Flanagan said. "If I wanted to go away with a pitch, it seemed {Rayford} was already there. I just knew it was not going to be a high-scoring game."

And pitched accordingly.

Orioles Notes:

Before tonight's game, Al Bumbry became the 15th ex-player inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame. He played 13 seasons with the Orioles with a lifetime average of .283. He was AL rookie of the year in 1973. He holds the club record for career steals (252 and was the first Oriole to get 200 hits in a season (205 in 1980).