BALTIMORE, JULY 11 -- The Baltimore Orioles faced questions aplenty about their pitching staff as they returned for the season's second half tonight with a single game against the Kansas City Royals. So they decided to answer them swiftly by trotting out just about everyone to the Memorial Stadium mound they could find.

The Orioles recovered from starter Bob Milacki's shaky outing with a parade of stellar relief work to gain a 7-5 victory over the Royals before 20,187 in a game postponed by the spring training lockout.

Ben McDonald, Curt Schilling, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson totaled six shutout innings, while run-scoring singles by Joe Orsulak and Randy Milligan off Steve Farr in the seventh completed a comeback from an early 5-2 deficit.

The Royals' Pete Filson, in his first start and second game this season, cut his ERA from 108.0 to 21.6 but couldn't hold the lead his teammates forged with a five-run third inning.

Filson served a home run to Brad Komminsk and let the Orioles tie it at 5 before leaving in the fourth. Schilling got his first major league victory and Olson his 18th save of the season by striking out the side -- and leaving the bases loaded -- in the ninth.

The Orioles won their third straight and fourth in six games to improve to 38-45. They last won more than two games in a row June 6-9, when they captured four straight. With more home games in the second half than any other team in the American League, they upped their record here to a still-disappointing 14-20. The Royals are 36-46.

"Whether we play at home or on the road, we have to win ballgames," Manager Frank Robinson said. "We can't be satisfied with winning one of two or two of three. If we want to be in contention, we have to win three of three, three of four. We have to get it done in the second half."

The Orioles began the 12-game homestand hopefully, although several roster decisions must be made in the next few days.

Before the game, Robinson named his four-man rotation that will remain intact at least a turn or two. The Orioles' ace of a year ago, left-hander Jeff Ballard, isn't in it.

Milacki, Pete Harnisch and Dave Johnson were automatics, leaving Ballard and right-hander John Mitchell battling for the last spot. Mitchell has pitched well in three of four starts since being recalled a month ago, so Ballard and his 1-9 record will remain in the bullpen, where he spent the last week of the first half.

The Orioles must do plenty of maneuvering. Reliever Joe Price, eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday, threw 12 minutes off a mound today and pronounced his lower back strain healed.

Outfielder Phil Bradley, who took batting practice today (and also hit each of the two days of the all-star break), seemed somewhat irritated he hadn't been activated for this game; he's been cleared to play by Hugh Baugher, who operated on his left wrist three weeks ago. Outfielder Brady Anderson (sprained ankle) is rehabilitating at Class AA Hagerstown.

Robinson said Price likely won't be returned to the roster Thursday, but Bradley may be. If so, either Komminsk (who had one extra-base hit in 25 games before tonight) or one of the club's 11 pitchers could be in jeopardy.

Milacki wasn't sharp tonight, exiting after 2 2/3 innings in which he gave up six hits and five runs.

First baseman Milligan's error spawned the Royals' third-inning outburst, and neither Milacki nor reliever Brian Holton did anything to help.

From there, however, the Orioles turned stingy. Robinson said he tried to use as many pitchers as possible "to get them back in the groove after two days off." Schilling excelled.

"I feel good," he said, the ball and lineup card from his initial victory stuffed into his locker. "There's a lot of moves to be made and I know every time I go out I have to do well to stay here."

He was alternately sentimental and comical in his postgame analysis, moving in a moment from wishing his father (who died of a heart attack two years ago) could have seen this game to warning McDonald about the retaliation forthcoming in their ever-escalating practical joke war. "You'll probably see him on fire in center field one day," he said.

Cal Ripken's two-out single gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the first, and Komminsk's third homer made it 2-0 in the second. But Kansas City got five straight hits after two were out in the third to score five unearned runs for a 5-2 advantage.

The Orioles chased Filson and tied matters at 5 with three runs in the fourth. Ripken drew a leadoff walk, Craig Worthington singled, then center fielder Bo Jackson misplayed Bob Melvin's single into two runs. Melvin scored on Komminsk's grounder.

Both teams' relievers were effective through the middle innings. McDonald worked two scoreless innings, then Schilling retired six straight before yielding to Williamson.

Andy McGaffigan checked the Orioles until yielding to Farr to begin the seventh. The winning rally began shortly thereafter. Bill Ripken led off with a single and came around on Komminsk's sacrifice, Mike Devereaux's single and Orsulak's single through the middle.

Milligan followed with a single for a 7-5 lead.

Orioles Notes:

Former Stanford University pitcher Mike Mussina, the club's top draft choice, will make his first start for Hagerstown either Friday or Saturday at Williamsport, Pa. -- just seven miles from his hometown of Montoursville. . . .

Robinson, joking about a CBS graphic during the All-Star Game that identified him as manager of the San Francisco Giants (whom he managed 1981-84): "Maybe they know something I don't. If Billy {Martin} can {manage the Yankees} five times, I guess I can do it twice."