BALTIMORE, AUG. 1 -- Dave Stieb has more than four times as many victories in his career as the Orioles' current starting rotation.
Tonight, he showed the patience that only years can give, righting himself after a disastrous first inning to pitch the Toronto Blue Jays past Baltimore, 7-4, in front of 40,625 at Memorial Stadium.
After the game, the club made its third roster move this week, acquiring outfielder Dave Gallagher on a waiver claim from the White Sox.
Gallagher is expected to join the club Thursday, at which point the Orioles must release or demote someone. Neither Manager Frank Robinson nor General Manager Roland Hemond would say who would be the odd man out.
Stieb (14-3) gave up four runs in the first, but held the Orioles scoreless for five more innings while the Blue Jays chipped away at the lead, winning it on a two-out, two-run double by Kelly Gruber in the seventh.
Gruber's drive to right-center came off Mark Williamson, the Orioles' third pitcher.
But the two runs -- and the loss -- were charged to Jeff Ballard (1-10), who gave up a double to Mookie Wilson and a walk to Tony Fernandez before being lifted for Williamson.
"All losses now are tough losses," said Robinson. "But I look at this one differently because we had a chance to win. It was there for us."
The Blue Jays' three-home-run power display ruined the first major league start for pitcher Mickey Weston, who was called up from Class AAA Rochester Tuesday when Bob Milacki went on the disabled list.
But Weston wouldn't have gotten the win, anyway -- he didn't get very far, giving up six hits and four earned runs in four-plus innings.
"I definitely have some things to work on," said Weston, who was 10-0 with a 1.81 ERA with Rochester. "I'm disappointed but not distraught. I think I can still make an impact on this team."
Weston left the game after giving up a game-tying homer to Glenallen Hill with none out in the fifth.
But the relievers didn't fare any better against the power-packed Toronto lineup, as first Ballard and then Williamson failed to hold the Blue Jays.
John Olerud clinched the win with a homer off Williamson in the eighth. The Blue Jays lead the majors with 126 homers.
The loss prevented the Orioles (51-53) from reaching the .500 plateau for the fourth straight time. They haven't hit that level since June 12 (29-29).
But more importantly, it dropped Baltimore five games behind the division-leading Blue Jays (56-48) in the American League East.
The Orioles, who came into the series playing the best baseball in the AL since the all-star break, had hoped to make their move against the Blue Jays.
But the Blue Jays not only held their ground in this three-game series, they gained some, winning two of the three. They lost to Ben McDonald Tuesday night.
It was hoped Weston's debut would give the pitching staff a boost similar to that supplied by McDonald, who shut out the White Sox in his first major league start last Saturday.
But it was Stieb who ruled tonight. With 162 wins in his 11 years as a Blue Jay, he is far ahead of the combined total (37) of the Orioles' rotation of Weston, McDonald, John Mitchell, Dave Johnson and Pete Harnisch.
But, amazingly, this was his first win at Memorial Stadium.
It started bad and got worse. The Orioles had a 4-0 lead before Stieb could say "strike one." Thirteen of his first 15 pitches were balls. Walks to three of the first four batters set the table, but it was RBI singles by Cal Ripken, Joe Orsulak and Craig Worthington that did the damage.
Ripken's bases-loaded hit to center brought home the first two runs, and came as a welcome surprise to the Orioles.
Ripken had been hitting only .108 (two for 19) in bases-loaded situations this season, but ripped a liner on a 2-2 pitch that scored Brady Anderson and Randy Milligan, both of whom had walked.
Orsulak followed with a single to right that scored Sam Horn, who also had walked. Worthington's two-out bloop single to right brought Ripken home.
But Toronto began to chip away at Weston. Three singles, the last a two-out poke to center by Manny Lee bringing home George Bell, put the the Blue Jays on the board in the second.
In the fourth, a two-run homer to right-center by 1989 home run king Fred McGriff made it 4-3.
Hill chased Weston with a lead-off, game-tying homer to left-center in the fifth.