BALTIMORE, AUG. 4 -- The Kansas City Royals got in their best swings at the Baltimore Orioles one night after hostilities erupted at Memorial Stadium with a pair of bench-clearing tussles. Perhaps the Orioles would be better served by letting dormant ballclubs lie, for the Royals took out their frustrations tonight with four home runs and a 9-1 victory that rebuffed Baltimore's bid to become a winning team for the first time since April.

Before a crowd of 48,160 -- the Orioles' largest since the home opener -- Mike Macfarlane and Danny Tartabull did the bulk of the damage as the Royals dispatched Pete Harnisch in 1 1/3 innings and coasted behind Andy McGaffigan's six-inning, two-hit handiwork.

Macfarlane's career-best five RBI included a second-inning grand slam off Harnisch. Tartabull tagged Mark Williamson for a home run with the bases empty an inning later, then added one with a runner aboard off Jeff Ballard in the seventh for the fifth two-homer game of his career. George Brett touched Joe Price for a home run in the ninth.

The loss broke a two-game winning streak for the Orioles (53-54), who had reached .500 Friday for the first time in 48 games. They have not been above it since they were 7-6, and tonight's loss put them 5 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East.

The Royals (48-57), mired in last place in the West, entered the game 2-8 against the Orioles and losers of three straight games, scoring just once in each.

Despite pregame pledges by both sides that no hostilities lingered, the Royals seemed inspired by Friday's altercations, which began when several Kansas City players were angered by what they perceived as the Orioles' attempt to run up an already lopsided score. The Royals' revenge came swiftly, as they got 11 hits and a 6-0 lead after four innings.

Friday's game "had nothing to do with this," Orioles Manager Frank Robinson said. "If you don't make good pitches, you get hit. . . . McGaffigan, Macfarlane and Tartabull had something to do with it."

But Royals Manager John Wathan recognized tonight's redemptive value for his club. "It certainly was fun to come back and have a game like that after {Friday}. We were frustrated, and this relieved that a little."

Harnisch (9-6) was making his first start in a week, and the rust showed immediately. Brett just missed a homer in the first when his drive bounced high off the right field wall for a double, then Harnisch unraveled in the second as the Royals got four runs on five hits that included Macfarlane's grand slam, the first of his career and the first the Orioles yielded this season.

But Harnisch also was undone by some unusual misfortune. He has been Baltimore's best-backed starter this year, and it was a normally sure-handed glove that betrayed him tonight.

Jim Eisenreich and Gerald Perry started the onslaught with consecutive singles to open the inning. Willie Wilson hit a potential double-play grounder, but second baseman Bill Ripken -- who later left the game with a sore right foot that was to be X-rayed late tonight -- flubbed the play for his first error since May 26, a span of 52 games.

One pitch later Macfarlane's fourth home run went halfway up the stands in left. Harnisch was finished soon after, but Williamson gave up Tartabull's leadoff home run and Macfarlane's RBI single that pushed the damage to 6-0 in the third.

McGaffigan was in complete control. A reclamation project -- he went to spring training with the Expos, was traded to the Giants before the season and signed a minor league contract with the Royals after being released -- has become the ace of a depleted staff.

He's 3-0 with five earned runs and seven walks in 32 1/3 innings. In a season of almost ceaseless disappointments, he has become one of Kansas City's few pleasant surprises.

He escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the first by getting a groundout from Cal Ripken -- who had produced 11 first-inning RBI in the previous four games. He retired the next 10 batters as well before Tim Hulett's infield single in the fifth.