BALTIMORE, SEPT. 23 -- Their summer of frustration at last behind, the Baltimore Orioles have exorcised their pitching woes and fashioned a five-game winning streak, matching their season-best.

After nine solid innings from starting pitcher Ben McDonald, Bill Ripken excited the 29,907 at Memorial Stadium on this blustery first day of autumn with a 10th-inning leadoff double. He stole third and scored on Bob Melvin's fly ball to give the Orioles a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ripken, who stole third while rookie Leo Gomez (three for five) struck out, collided with catcher B.J. Surhoff, knocking away center fielder Mike Felder's throw for the victory. Jeff Ballard (2-10), who relieved McDonald to start the 10th, earned his first victory since May 27.

"It's a change, huh," Ballard said. "I told {Bob} Milacki that I might be the first pitcher to pitch half a season and not get a win. I had a big May and a big September."

His one inning followed a fine performance by McDonald, who threw 118 pitches, yielding Greg Vaughn's second inning homer among five hits. After the home run, he retired 17 of the next 19 batters on his way to his first no-decision this season.

"It was a little nippy out there," he said. "I couldn't grip my curveball and the fastball was doing some weird things at times. But I threw it where I wanted."

"He's got a good fastball and an idea of what to do with his curve," Brewers designated hitter Dave Parker said. "A little maturing and he'll be one of the good ones."

Mike Devereaux accounted for the Orioles' first run, hitting a home run -- his 10th of the year -- into the left field bleachers in the fifth inning. Devereaux, who had a three-run homer Saturday night to beat the Brewers, 3-2, has five RBI in his last four games.

Ripken's 10th-inning heroics ruined one of Brewers left-hander Teddy Higuera's best outings. Higuera (10-9) struck out eight and walked five in 9 2/3 innings, falling to 1-5 here.

"We pitched well enough to win today, but we didn't hit well enough," Manager Tom Trebelhorn said. "{McDonald} pitched well without his best stuff."

Two fine plays -- both by rookies -- aided McDonald. Third baseman Gomez dived to his right, then threw out Paul Molitor to rob him of a probable double in the third. Then, in the eighth with runners on first and third, Surhoff sent a line drive down the first base line, where David Segui dived into foul territory and threw to McDonald for the out.

"It was definitely a team effort," McDonald said. "Leo's only going to get better and better."

McDonald, who lost his last decision, 7-3, Monday to the Red Sox, said he did not lose any confidence after the setback.

"If I have a bad game, I know I can have five or six good ones after that," he said. "That's important for a starting pitcher. The hardest thing is waiting five days to get out there again."

For Ballard, it was a momentary bright spot in an otherwise downcast season. Last year's 18-game winner said he remains upbeat about 1991. Orioles Notes:

Starting catcher Chris Hoiles left the game after the first inning after apparently straining his right shoulder trying to catch Molitor stealing. Hoiles was taken to Baltimore's Union Memorial Hospital, where a radiologist examined his shoulder. He will undergo further tests today. Melvin replaced Hoiles. . . .

The Orioles' 12-4 record in extra-inning games is the major league's best. . . . The three-game sweep of Milwaukee is the Orioles' first of an Eastern club since Aug. 21-23, 1989, when they swept the Brewers. . . . The Orioles' other five-game winning streak was July 19-23.END NOTES