ANAHEIM, CALIF., AUG. 12 -- And the Jeff McKnights shall lead them.

The Baltimore Orioles recaptured their magical, mystical feeling of 1989 today -- and did it a few wondrous inklings better, in fact. On a day they considered crucial to their season, they got six runs, nine hits and seven RBI from the bottom third of their batting order to rout Mark Langston and the California Angels, 11-6, before 33,657 in Anaheim Stadium.

Eighth-place hitter McKnight, 27, a rookie with five major league hits in seven professional seasons entering today's game, led the way with four hits, four runs and two RBI. He was promoted from Rochester eight days ago because of his versatility, not his bat.

But he certainly hasn't found AL pitching overly testing, as he upped his average to .667.

"I got lucky," he said. "It's just one day. You enjoy it while you can, then you move on to the next day."

He had plenty of help, as the Orioles battered Langston for six hits and eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. Reliever Cliff Young yielded 10 more hits the next four innings, as the Orioles had 13 of their 16 hits and a 10-1 lead after five innings.

No. 9 hitter Rene Gonzales had four RBI on a single, double and triple, giving him five hits this series, two fewer than he had in 50 previous games this year. Bob Melvin, batting seventh, had two hits, including an RBI single during a six-run third inning.

"It's always good to have days like this, and it came at a good time for us," he said. He admitted using his home run swing on Mark Eichhorn's first pitch in the ninth: "I practically came out of my shoes trying to pull that one for the homer. The mind's a terrible thing."

After he grounded out,, "everyone on the bench was saying, 'Ooh, you came really close,' " he said. But one observer was relieved Gonzales didn't hit for the cycle. "It would've been the worst thing that ever happened to him," Manager Frank Robinson said. "He would've been swinging for the fences for two weeks."

It was the kind of day in which a smile and a chuckle reappeared in the Orioles' postgame clubhouse. They entered the game having scored 14 runs in their previous six games, hitting .223 as a team along the way. They had lost three straight games, four of five on this road trip and five of six overall to fall seven games behind the Boston Red Sox in the East.

Visions of last season's 2-12 road trip in late July and early August were being conjured up. Instead, they fell three runs and one hit short of their largest offensive outputs of the season and left for Seattle tonight with renewed vigor for the stretch drive.

"I was very pleased," Robinson said. "I would've been very pleased if we had won, 1-0. It was a very important ballgame for us, not just standings-wise but for confidence too. We have to do the job now. We have to be a little more consistent and start making up some ground soon . . . If we go to Boston {in nine days} four or five games back, we'll be all right. I'd like to pick up two to three games before we play them."

John Mitchell (5-4) won despite yielding four runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. Mark Williamson finished with five-hit, two-run relief for his first save this season.

The Angels, in fifth place in the AL West beginning the day, fell to 55-60 -- and were horrendous in doing so. Their two errors included one by Young when he threw a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Dick Schofield; the problem was Schofield was 10 feet from the bag as second baseman Johnny Ray covered.

And Langston, their high-priced free agent acquisition, was once again atrocious, suffering another day of booing. He has lost 10 of his last 11 decisions to drop to 5-15. After failing to survive the third inning for the third time in five outings, he has an 4.79 ERA.

Since an opening day no-hitter he shared with Mike Witt, his season has been in steady decline. "He had very good stuff, but he wasn't able to throw enough breaking balls for strikes," Manager Doug Rader said. "That gave them a chance to sit on his fastball."

"Right now, it's very tough for him, but eventually he's going to get over this and show the type of great pitcher he is. And he's going to be worth every nickel that we spent on him."

He wasn't worth much today.

Mike Devereaux led off the second inning with an infield single, then Langston retired Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken -- the only Oriole not to get a hit. But six hits and two walks followed, including Gonzales' two-run double.

Brian Downing's two-run home run in the sixth brought the Angels within 10-4 and, along with an earlier single and walk, gave him nine hits in his last 10 at-bats, with 12 times on base in 13 plate appearances. He later grounded out, but the result had long since been determined.

"Who would've thought we'd do this today?" Gonzales asked. "This was tremendous."