BALTIMORE, SEPT. 8 -- For the first time since this forgetful stretch started more than a month ago, the Baltimore Orioles strung together back-to-back victories tonight.
It wasn't pretty, but it was exciting as Cal Ripken's long fly ball with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Brady Anderson and gave the Orioles a 5-4 victory over the California Angels before 30,738 spectators at Memorial Stadium.
During a 31-game span since Aug. 3 that has seen them win only nine times, the Orioles (62-75) won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 12-13 when they defeated California and Seattle on the West Coast.
"It's a matter of winning some games," Orioles Manager Frank Robinson said. "Two in a row isn't going to cut it. Hopefully, this will get us straightened out."
Ripken's winning fly ball off reliever Mark Eichhorn made a winner of Joe Price, who got the Orioles out of a jam in the eighth inning and threw a perfect ninth.
Anderson started the rally with a single to right. After Jeff McKnight struck out, Steve Finley walked and pinch hitter Joe Orsulak singled to load the bases. With the outfield playing at medium depth, Ripken sent Eichhorn's first pitch to the edge of the left field warning track where Dante Bichette made a running catch.
Eichhorn had relieved starter Chuck Finley, who threw 145 pitches and struck out 10 in eight innings. It was only the seventh time in his 28 starts that the Angels didn't win.
Finley (17-6) entered the game with the American League's second-lowest ERA (2.47), behind Boston's Roger Clemens.
The Angels left 10 runners on base, prompting Angels Manager Doug Rader to lament, "We didn't get in down when we had a couple of chances. They finally did when they had one."
Orioles rookie Jose Mesa made his third start since being recalled from Rochester on Aug. 27. It was his shortest outing (5 2/3 innings), but he struck out five, allowed only five hits and left with the score tied at 3.
The Angels (69-70) had taken a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out against Jeff Ballard, who had relieved Mesa in the sixth. Curt Schilling came on and got Dave Winfield to bounce into a force play for the second out, but he walked Brian Downing on four pitches to force in the go-ahead run. Schilling avoided further problems by striking out Lee Stevens on three pitches.
The Orioles tied it in the bottom of the inning when Bill Ripken produced a two-out, two-strike single to left to score McKnight from second.
"The pitching overall tonight was good," Robinson said. "We walked some people which made it tougher on us, but overall it was good. Ballard picked up Mesa and Schilling and Price picked up from there."
Bob Melvin gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run home run just inside the left field foul pole. Twelve of Baltimore's previous 15 home runs had been solo jobs.
The Angels scored three in the third against Mesa. Ray drove in one run with a double to left and Devon White, who left Friday night's game complaining of blurred vision, gave California the lead with a two-run single.
After he walked Winfield, Mesa retired nine of the next 10 batters before he got in trouble in the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Orioles tied it in their half of the third on Craig Worthington's single that scored Bill Ripken. Mickey Tettleton tried to score from second on the play, but Winfield's one-hop throw got him at the plate.
Two innings later, the Orioles had another runner thrown out trying to score when Schofield knocked down Cal Ripken's hard grounder and made a perfect relay to snag McKnight, who tried to score from second base.
"It's nice to win," Robinson said. "It's very nice to win two in a row. It's been a while."
Notes: The Frederick Keys, the Orioles' Class A affiliate that won the Carolina League title Friday night against Kinston, were honored before the game. . . . Rochester, the club's AAA affiliate, won the International League championship tonight with a 5-1 victory over Columbus.