KANSAS CITY, MO., JULY 28 -- Cal Ripken made an error today and the Baltimore Orioles blew a five-run lead and a chance to pull off a doubleheader sweep.
With the Orioles on top by 9-4 in the fifth inning of the first game, Ripken mishandled a grounder by Jeff Schulz, allowing Jim Eisenreich to score from third, touching off a series of mishaps that sent the Royals past the Orioles, 10-9.
The Orioles salvaged a split with a 3-1 victory in the rain-plagued second game, which was delayed three times, including 22 minutes at the start, for a total of 1 hour 58 minutes.
Ripken atoned for his first-game error by singling home Phil Bradley, who also singled, with two outs in the eighth, breaking a 1-1 tie.
Determined Dave Johnson (10-6) survived all three delays yielding four hits in seven innings to get the win.
"It was just a gutty, tremendous effort," said Orioles Manager Frank Robinson. "He wouldn't let me take him out."
"I told him I was fine," said Johnson, who became the first Oriole pitcher to reach double figures in wins this season. "I know my body pretty well, and I'm not going to let myself get hurt. In fact, I felt batter after the first rain delay, and better still after the second one. I had better commmand of my pitches."
Gregg Olson pitched two innings for his 22nd save.
The Orioles also scored on a Craig Worthington homer in the fifth and a single by Bradley in the ninth.
The first game was not quite so calm.
Ripken's muff broke his errorless streaks of 95 games and 431 chances, both major league records for a shortstop.
But Ripken was not the main reason the Orioles lost for only the fourth time in 12 games: Their normally dependable bullpen couldn't hold a huge lead late in the game.
The Royals scored five runs off relievers Joe Price and Mark Williamson in the seventh, the last two coming on a two-out homer by Kurt Stillwell that provided the tying and winning runs.
Everything went wrong for the Orioles in the seventh.
With none out and Gerald Perry at first, George Brett lined a shot that glanced off the glove of first baseman Randy Milligan -- who was standing in fair territory -- and went foul.
First-base umpire Vic Voltaggio called the ball foul, but home-plate umpire Drew Coble overruled him, giving Brett a double and sending Perry to third.
Robinson, who has had several run-ins with Coble in the past, charged out of the dugout to argue, but to no avail.
Perry scored when Milligan booted a grounder by Eisenreich, and four batters later Stillwell sent his drive to right.
The Orioles still had two good chances to save themselves, putting runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn't get the tying run across against Jeff Montgomery, who saved the game for winner Steve Crawford (4-2).
Robinson tried to tie the game with one swing when he had power hitter Sam Horn pinch-hit for Bill Ripken to lead off the ninth. Ripken was two for four in the game, after getting three hits Friday night.
"That's what it came down to," said Robinson. "That's asking a lot of a guy, but I was hoping for the homer in that situation."
Williamson (8-2) took the loss, his first since May 6. He had won seven straight decisions.
With the split, the Orioles (49-51) picked up a half-game on the two teams ahead of them in the AL East -- Toronto, which lost to Texas in 13 innings; and Boston, which lost at Detroit.
The Orioles are four games behind Toronto.
Tim Hulett and Brady Anderson homered for the Orioles in the first game. Anderson's two-run shot off Crawford in the fifth capped a six-run inning that provided a 9-4 lead.
"Any time you put nine runs on the board, you should win," Robinson said.
Anderson went four for five, but his only out was a costly one: He struck out with one out and Bradley on second in the ninth. Milligan then struck out to end the game.
Anderson is 10 for 18 with eight RBI since coming off the disabled list July 20.
Pete Harnisch, the Orioles' first-game starter, was hurt by his lack of control -- yielding six walks and five earned runs.
"He had good stuff, but he couldn't get it over the plate," said Robinson.
Three of those runs came on a third-inning homer by Brett, who had a 16-game hitting streak broken Friday night. Brett had four hits in the two games, including a homer and two doubles, and is hitting .471 with 14 doubles and five homers in his last 19 games.
The homer off Harnisch was Brett's first at Royals Stadium since Aug. 9 -- and his seventh of the season. It also gave the Royals a 4-3 lead.
The Orioles jumped on Mark Davis, the high-priced free agent who won the NL Cy Young Award for San Diego last year, for three runs in the first inning. Two came on Hulett's homer, his second.
Davis got no decision today, his record remaining at 1-6. After giving up the three runs in the first, he held the Orioles scoreless until the fifth. But, like Harnisch, he was hurt by walks, giving up seven. In two starts this season he's issued 13 walks in 7 1/3 innings.