BALTIMORE, SEPT. 11 -- Dave Johnson didn't want to get into the business of whether he'll be around next year. There's still this season to deal with, and Johnson would like to be part of that for the Baltimore Orioles.

He gets by with what he has. Tonight, he had a lot, and in his first start in a month, he kept the Detroit Tigers at bay for seven shutout innings. But Baltimore's bullpen couldn't hold a slim lead, and the Orioles lost a tough, 2-1 decision before 26,836 at Memorial Stadium.

Alan Trammell's two-run eighth-inning double off stopper Gregg Olson made a winner of reliever Paul Gibson (5-4). Curt Schilling (1-1), who had put the first two batters of the eighth inning on, took the loss. Detroit's Jerry Don Gleaton pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save.

In his first start since Aug. 14, Johnson pitched seven innings of six-hit ball, throwing 94 pitches, 61 of them strikes. He had made just one previous appearance since coming off the disabled list.

"It was a real big-hearted effort," Orioles Manager Frank Robinson said. "He just never ceases to amaze you. He's just a battler, just a survivor. I'm not going to ask him to go eight, nine innings. He's just coming back. He did more than he was supposed to do."

Steve Searcy pitched six shutout innings for Detroit. Baltimore took the lead in the seventh on Steve Finley's second homer of the season, which barely cleared the right-field wall off Gibson.

Johnson had been stellar all night, with command of his entire repertoire. Only one Tiger reached third against him, Lloyd Moseby in the fourth, and a throw from Cal Ripken erased him as he tried to score.

"I had pretty good control of all my pitches," he said. "My fastball, my change-up, my curve and my slider. I was throwing them all over the plate. I did for the most part what I wanted to. It made for one of the easier games that I pitched this year."

Johnson got help from Ripken's throw-out of Moseby and from a double play that closed out the seventh. He helped himself by picking off Trammell in the sixth. That same inning, Bill Ripken and his father, Cal Ripken Sr., were ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Rich Garcia.

Bill Ripken had just been caught looking, on a pitch that appeared inside. He and Garcia had a couple of words as he went back to the dugout. Cal Ripken Jr., the next batter, then took up the conversation with Garcia.

Ripken Sr. then came down the line. Robinson came out of the dugout to try and save them, but Garcia had already given them the rest of the night off. Ripken Sr. had to be restrained by first base coach Johnny Oates, pitching coach Al Jackson and batting coach Tommy McGraw.

Said Robinson: "{Garcia} said he'd let {Bill Ripken} have his say, and he complained all the way back to the dugout. He said {Ripken} kept yelling from the dugout, which he did not. . . . Senior said at the time he was thrown out: 'Cal, don't talk to him.' That's all he said."

Johnson showed no signs of tiring after seven, but Robinson had seen enough.

"It was more than you can expect," Robinson said.

"I expected going in that he was going to look for me to go five innings and go from there," Johnson said. "The way the game was going, I was able to go seven, and I'm sure he was happy with that.

"Hopefully, I answered a couple of questions, not only to myself, but to the coaching staff, that I was healthy. There was some doubt in my mind of when I was actually healthy. But the set-up felt fine and I was able to go out there and make pitches. I didn't have any problems. Then again, tomorrow's going to tell, and the next time I go out there's going to tell."

In came Schilling, who had had 22 scoreless appearances in 27 outings this season, including 16 of the previous 18 games.

But Milt Cuyler led off the eighth with his second hit of the game. Leadoff man Tony Phillips then singled to left, with the swift Cuyler taking third.

Robinson brought in Jeff Ballard to face Lou Whitaker, one for 13 lifetime against the left-hander. Ballard did the job, getting Whitaker to pop out to second, and Robinson went to his stopper to face the heart of Detroit's order.

Olson missed with a curve for ball one. Trammell didn't wait for another one, stroking the 1-0 pitch in the gap to score Cuyler and Phillips. Baltimore got a runner as far as second in the bottom half, but Mickey Tettleton struck out and Craig Worthington grounded out to end the inning.

"We all know he's got a great breaking ball," Trammell said of Olson. "I was hoping because he missed with that breaking ball that he might throw me a fastball. I hit it and I knew it was good enough for a sacrifice fly, but because they were playing me to right center, it happened to get in the gap and get the two runs."

Olson's succinct analysis: "Fastball."

It was only Olson's fourth blown save in 34 appearances this season.