BALTIMORE, SEPT. 9 -- The California Angels proved charitable guests once more, and rookie pitcher Anthony Telford provided perhaps the most impressive outing of his five-start major league career. By that formula, a relaxed smile returned to acceptability in the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse today.

The Orioles rode the work of Telford and four relievers, some Angels generosity and a bit of early offense to a 3-1 victory before 30,066 at Memorial Stadium.

It was their third straight victory -- the first time they've done that well since a five-game surge in mid-July -- and the result was the at-least-partial relieving of the tensions that had mounted during their month-long plummet through the American League East standings.

"This was real important," said Telford (2-2), who yielded a run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. "Just look around. This clubhouse is a lot lighter right now . . . You can laugh again. You can tell jokes again. You can't forget the last few weeks, but at least you can be a little bit happy again."

The Orioles got three runs in the first two innings off recently stingy Kirk McCaskill, then made that 3-0 lead stand. Telford was in complete control through the early going, throwing one strike after another to make good on a pregame promise to pitching coach Al Jackson that he wouldn't try to be so perfect with each delivery.

The result was a less overwhelming but probably more effective performance than he had given, including his seven-inning, one-hit debut against the Oakland Athletics. "He was sharper today than possibly he has been since he's been here," Manager Frank Robinson said. "He made all the pitches he had to."

Telford yielded two hits and one walk through the first five innings, retiring 11 straight batters before California managed its only run in the sixth on a one-out walk to Max Venable, Brian Downing's double to the left field corner and Dave Winfield's groundout.

Robinson pulled Telford after he allowed a one-out single to Rick Schu and Pete Coachman's ground-rule double in the seventh. The Orioles bullpen provided 2 2/3 perfect innings with Jose Bautista and Joe Price working out of the second-and-third, one-out jam in the seventh and Gregg Olson -- in his second outing since being sidelined for a week with a sore elbow -- earning his 30th save.

David Segui celebrated his return from a knee injury with two hits, and Sam Horn's two hits included a run-scoring single as he finished the series five for eight with five RBI. The Orioles' sweep was their first this season since a July 19-22 blanking of the Chicago White Sox here, their first here against the Angels since 1984.

The Orioles, with all of their remaining games against East Division rivals, finished the year 42-41 against the West. The Angels (69-71) helped today by making three errors and failing to score more than two runs for McCaskill -- who had allowed but eight earned runs over 34 innings while winning four of his previous five outings -- for the 12th time in 26 starts.

"We're struggling offensively right now," California Manager Doug Rader said. "And when that happens, you have series like this. All three of our starters did their jobs. They put us in a position where we should have been able to win ballgames."

The Orioles jumped on McCaskill (11-10) early, getting two runs in the second to end his consecutive scoreless innings at 18. McCaskill walked Mickey Tettleton with one out, Segui singled to center and Bill Ripken bounced a hit through the middle for a 1-0 lead. Second baseman Coachman later erred on Steve Finley's grounder to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

They increased it to three runs on Cal Ripken's double and Horn's single in the third, and Telford & Co. took it from there.

Orioles Notes:

Dave Johnson will replace John Mitchell in the starting rotation for Tuesday's game against the Tigers.