BALTIMORE, SEPT. 5 -- The Orioles are closing in on their 12th week in sixth place in the AL East, and tonight they gave a sixth-place performance.
They made two errors, Eric Bell departed early again, and the Oakland Athletics got 11 hits in a 7-2 victory before 21,291 wet ones at Memorial Stadium.
Mickey Tettleton homered in the fourth to knock out Bell, who gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits in his three-plus innings.
The Orioles must be wondering about just how bad Bell has been shellshocked in the second half of the season. He has lost five straight decisions, is winless in his last seven starts and is 4-11 in his last 20 starts.
Worse, he has not lasted through the fifth inning in his last three starts, pitching only 11 2/3 innings. He hasn't won since July 29 and his ERA since then is 7.62.
"His windup's a little too quick right now," Orioles Manager Cal Ripken said. "And his arm's rushing to catch up with his body. His rhythm hasn't been good his last few starts. But sometimes that happens when you start pressing a little bit."
Bell didn't get any defensive help. In the first, with Steve Henderson and Jose Canseco already aboard, Carney Lansford lined a single to left that wouldn't have scored Henderson, except that Mike Young overran the ball.
Henderson did score, and Canseco took third on the error. Mark McGwire scored Canseco with a fly to right.
With two on and one out in the second, the Orioles' latest experiment in center field, Lee Lacy, couldn't run down Tony Phillips' bloop that drove in Alfredo Griffin.
To be fair, it was Lacy's first start there since Sept. 14, 1983, when he was with the Pirates, and only his second game there for the Orioles.
But Bell couldn't hide when Tettleton hit a 1-0 pitch to left for his eighth homer to make it 5-2 lead.
That was all Curt Young needed. His only mistake was Mike Young's 14th homer in the third to left that also scored Ray Knight. Otherwise, he had command, holding the Orioles' 3-4-5 hitters nothing for nine.
Pete Stanicek had two hits in four at-bats, as did Bill Ripken. Stanicek is six for 15 (.400) since coming up from Rochester last Monday.
How bad can the Orioles use his speed? With his steal in the third, his second since coming up, he is already tied for sixth on the team in steals.
Scott McGregor, just off the disabled list with pitcher Tony Arnold, pitched a scoreless sixth. He appeared to throw with no sign of the sore shoulder that forced him on the DL Aug. 8.
Ripken Sr. said McGregor would work out of the bullpen for a while. "He's throwing now," Ripken Sr., "and he wasn't doing that before. Hopefully, he can build his stamina and help us."
"My arm's coming along fine now," McGregor said. "It's getting loose."
The Orioles recalled left-hander Mike Kinnunen, infielder Rene Gonzalez and catcher Carl Nichols from Rochester.
Rochester was eliminated from the International League playoffs Friday night, losing by 10-5 to Columbus. It didn't win a game in the best-of-five series.