PHILADELPHIA -- The Orioles renewed Cal Ripken's contract Friday and renewed acquaintances with former teammate Curt Schilling Friday night, but it was still the same old story.
The bullpen loosened up a tight game in the seventh inning and the Orioles fell for the 14th time in their last 16 attempts, suffering a 4-2 loss to the upstart Philadelphia Phillies that dropped them a season-high 17 games below .500.
Rookie reliever Gabe Molina walked the bases loaded with no one out in the bottom of the seventh and the Phillies scored twice to pad a one-run lead on the way to their third victory in four games against their designated interleague rival.
Schilling, facing a starting lineup that did not include injured veterans Brady Anderson, Will Clark and Delino DeShields, went all the way and gave up two runs on eight hits on a muggy night at Veterans Stadium to record his 13th victory of the year and claim a share of the National League lead in that department. He'll head for Boston later this weekend for the All-Star Game.
"He's a great competitor," said Orioles manager Ray Miller. "I don't want to take anything away from him, but I wish we had our whole lineup against him.
"I really thought about the fifth inning that we were going to win the game. If we don't walk the bases loaded in the seventh, maybe we do."
Orioles starter Juan Guzman struggled through a difficult six-inning performance, but was resourceful enough to hold the Phillies to just two runs on a night when he walked seven and allowed 11 baserunners. He lost for the seventh time in 11 decisions.
Called on the carpet again, the Orioles lost for the 11th time in 12 games on artificial turf this year.
Schilling said earlier last week that he was excited about the prospect of pitching against the team that first brought him to the major leagues back in 1988.
He retired the first 10 Orioles he faced before Mike Bordick bounced a single up the middle in the fourth for the first Baltimore hit. The Orioles would go on to score a run on a double by B.J. Surhoff and an RBI groundout by Albert Belle, but Schilling never lost his grip on the game in his first-ever regular-season appearance against the Orioles.
That was more than could be said for Guzman, who allowed two runs before he recorded his first out of the game and threw his 100th pitch before he got his first out in the fifth inning.
The first three Phillies hitters reached base in the bottom of the first as Guzman struggled to get established on the mound. He gave up a single to leadoff man Doug Glanville and walked left fielder Ron Gant before hot-hitting Bobby Abreu doubled to right to bring home both runners.
Guzman settled down after that, but he never really settled in. He struggled with his control and pitched with runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings, working out of the series of dangerous situations that resulted from a season-high, seven-walk performance.
Three of those walks came in succession with two outs in the third inning, but Guzman got All-Star catcher Mike Lieberthal on a fly ball to center to end the threat. He allowed a walk and a single in the fourth and worked out of a first-and-third situation in the fifth, but piled up pitches in the oppressive weather.
Somehow, he survived six innings without allowing another run and turned the game over to Molina in the seventh after throwing 125 pitches (75 strikes).
"I came in from the bullpen and I couldn't get comfortable," Guzman said. "I couldn't get used to the mound. It's like that with me a lot. I wish I could do something about it.
"It wasn't like I was missing by a lot. It was inches. It was just an inch here and an inch there, but I kept my team in the game."
Schilling was more economical with his pitches, showing the Orioles what they've been missing since the ill-fated trade nine years ago that sent him along with outfielder Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch to the Houston Astros for injury-plagued first baseman Glenn Davis.
Schilling has been to the World Series since then. He also has put together back-to-back seasons with 300 or more strikeouts. Last night's victory tied him with the surprising Kent Bottenfield of the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League lead.
The Orioles originally expected to face him in last night's game, until Phillies manager Terry Francona moved Schilling up in the rotation to improve his chances of starting for the NL squad in Tuesday's All-Star Game at Fenway Park.
But San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy reportedly is leaning toward Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Randy Johnson to start against Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez.
No matter. Schilling got his wish. He was anxious to face old friends Cal Ripken and Brady Anderson, the only players remaining from the last Orioles club he played for in 1990.
"I was pretty anxious for this," Schilling said, "because there are a couple of guys who -- in a totally respectful way -- I wanted to face. It was a thrill getting to face Cal after playing with him. He's a guy you measure other major-league players against."
Schilling struck out Ripken in the second inning and got him on a groundout in the fifth, but the Orioles' third baseman beat out an infield hit in the seventh and doubled in the ninth. Anderson, who has been hobbled by a sore hamstring, appeared in the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh and lined out softly to second.