ANAHEIM, CALIF., AUG. 11 -- The Baltimore Orioles spent most of the first four days of this western road trip following heartbreaking, gut-wrenching avenues to losses. They made things easier on themselves tonight, assuring defeat quickly and resolutely.

The California Angels struck early and often en route to a 12-4 victory before 30,040 at Anaheim Stadium, leaving ace and Orioles-basher supreme Chuck Finley few worries as he notched his 15th victory.

Manager Frank Robinson found little solace in avoiding more frayed nerves, however. "A loss is a loss for us right now," he said. "They're all hard to take. . . . All it helps is to clear the ballpark early so I can go home without much traffic.

"We need {Sunday's} ballgame very badly. It's a very, very important ballgame for us. It doesn't get any easier when we leave here" for Seattle.

The Angels battered Baltimore starter Mickey Weston for eight hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 pitiable innings, and rapped six straight hits off Weston and reliever Joe Price on their way to a seven-run fourth inning -- their biggest of the season and the biggest surrendered by the Orioles.

"It's not a tough one to figure out," Weston said. "I was awful. . . . I can't survive at this level making pitches like I did."

Brian Downing, Chili Davis and Lance Parrish blasted home runs for California, which accumulated 10 hits and a 9-1 lead by the end of the fourth. Kent Anderson had the first four-hit game of his career, and Downing added three of the Angels' 15 hits. Davis and Parrish each contributed three RBI, and every California starter but Lee Stevens had at least one hit.

The Orioles had held opponents to a .184 average during the first four games of this nine-day road swing, but Weston -- in his second career start and third appearance since being recalled from the minor leagues 12 days ago -- was pounded in suffering his first major league loss. Baltimore hitters, who have scored only 13 runs in the past five games, didn't fare much better against Finley (15-5), who allowed four hits and one run over seven innings.

The defeat was the Orioles' third straight, fourth in five games on this trip and fifth in six games overall. It dropped them to 54-58, 6 1/2 games behind Boston in the American League East pending the Red Sox' extra-inning game tonight at Seattle.

The Angels (55-59), sixth in the AL West beginning the day, won for the fifth time in eight meetings with Baltimore this season.

The Orioles have had an uncanny knack in recent years for hitting the league's premier pitchers, but Finley has been the glaring exception. The left-hander's cleverly placed fastballs and wicked forkballs regularly tie them in knots.

"The guy has owned us," Robinson said. "We just haven't been able to touch him. . . . He gets good velocity and good movement on his fastball, and he puts it in good spots. And that forkball is evil."

Finley struck out a career-best 15 against the Orioles here last season. He entered tonight having won his past three decisions vs. Baltimore, including a three-hit shutout here in May.

And, as he seeks to become the first Angels pitcher since 1974 to win 20 games, Finley is in the best groove of his career. He has won five of six and eight of 10 decisions.

Finley struggled somewhat early, walking the bases loaded in the second before Dave Gallagher bailed him out by swinging at the first pitch to fly out to center. Cal Ripken homered in the third to break a string of 53 innings without a home run for the Orioles and offset Downing's second-inning blast that gave the Angels a 1-0 lead.

But it all became moot soon after. Max Venable's RBI single gave California a 2-1 lead in the third, and it was 9-1 after the fourth-inning explosion. Four of the runs were unearned, owing to third baseman Craig Worthington's error on a routine infield popup by Stevens to begin the inning.

Then Downing doubled, and the next four Angels batters singled to finish Weston -- who has allowed nine earned runs in 7 1/3 innings during his two starts this year. Price surrendered the fifth straight single and sixth consecutive hit -- one short of the Angels' team record -- then allowed a three-run homer to Davis one out later.

Parrish's two-run home run, a monstrous shot to straightaway center field, made it 11-1 an inning later.

Orioles Notes:

Pitcher Bob Milacki (strained shoulder) was moved today from the 15-day to the 21-day disabled list, leaving room for first baseman Randy Milligan (bruised left shoulder) to be placed on the 15-day list if the club chooses.

Milligan said today his arm's range of motion had improved only slightly since Friday, and that the earliest he can foresee playing is the start of the Oakland series Friday in Baltimore.

"It's getting a little frustrating," Milligan said. "My wife still has to put on my shirt for me."

The Orioles likely will make a decision about his status within the next two days. If Milligan were to be placed on the disabled list retroactively to Tuesday, when the injury occured, he'd miss both the A's series and the following three-day stint with first-place Boston. First baseman David Segui would be recalled from Class AAA Rochester.

Milacki will be eligible to come off the disabled list Aug. 21; pitching coach Al Jackson said the right-hander wouldn't have been able to pitch before then, anyway. . . .

Reliever Gregg Olson was obviously disgusted with the work of home plate umpire Jim Evans in the 10th inning of Baltimore's 2-1 loss Friday. "I don't want to say anything, because it'll just end up being something I regret," Olson said when asked about Evans's strike zone.

Evans called several close pitches balls while Olson was in the process of walking the first two Angels he faced in the inning and going to a 3-0 count on Johnny Ray. He was lifted in favor of Curt Schilling, who completed the walk to Ray and allowed the game-winning single to Kent Anderson one out later.

It was the first run ever charged to Olson during August and the first he had allowed since July 1. It also was the third time in his last 61 appearances he failed to finish the game and the first time this season he's been removed in the middle of an inning; his four walks matched a career high.

"It's easy to forget," he said today. "That wasn't me out there."