KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Orioles have played games like this before, too many to count at this stage of the season. They carry a lead into the late innings and set fire to it.
It took a two-out, two-run homer by Albert Belie in the ninth inning last night to prevent the Orioles from getting burned again.
Belle connected off Ricky Bottalico to complete a four-run rally and give the Orioles a 12-11 victory over the Kansas City Royals before 36,658 at Kauffman Stadium.
Delino DeShields had singled in two runs off Jerry Spradlin to set up Belle's heroics and position rookie Ryan Kohlmeier for his third major-league save, which became official when he stranded Hector Ortiz at second.
Mike Trombley had struck the first match by allowing three runs in the seventh to tie the score at 8 and account for the bullpen's 22nd blown save. Buddy Groom permitted three more runs in the eighth, two coming on a single by Jermaine Dye that moved the Royals ahead, 11-8. Dye finished with six RBIs.
The Orioles (51-64) reclaimed sole possession of fourth place in the AL East after winning a game that concluded with DeShields in center field for the first time in his career. He replaced rookie Luis Matos, who was hit on the right hand by a Spradlin pitch in the ninth to begin the rally. Melvin Mora reached on an infield hit with two outs and swiped second without a throw before DeShields and Belle struck two fierce blows.
A six-run third inning appeared to set up rookie John Parrish for his second victory in three major-league decisions. He allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, including Dye's 27th homer. Only 59 of his 106 pitches were strikes, but he left with an 8-5 lead.
Dye set a career high with his 28th homer, another two-run shot in the seventh off Trombley. A double by Joe Randa and single by rookie Mark Quinn that snuck under shortstop Melvin Mora's glove tied the game. It also left Parrish with his second straight no-decision and Trombley with his seventh blown save.
The Royals, who lost to the Orioles for the first time in five games this season, went ahead in the eighth and almost rewarded reliever Kris Wilson for 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Carlos Febles led off with his fourth hit. Ryan Minor misplayed a grounder with one out, and a double steal proceeded a walk to Mark Sweeney. Groom threw three straight bails before Dye lined a two-run single into center field and Randa tacked on another with a single to left.
With Cal Ripken nearing a return from the disabled list, manager Mike Hargrove continues to play Minor at third base. Hargrove wants to provide him with enough at-bats to make a fair evaluation, but Minor is 0-for-ll with three errors since reaching on an infield hit in the fifth inning of Wednesday's game in Detroit. The slump included five strikeouts in eight at-bats before he lined to center in the sixth. Back-up catcher Greg Myers has pinch-hit for him the past two nights.
Minor struck out in the third after Wilson had replaced Blake Stein. By then, the Orioles were assured of batting around after crafting their sixth six-run inning this season.
The same lapses in control that hounded Parrish in Detroit Monday cropped up in the first two innings last night. Parrish walked three of the first eight batters he faced, including two in the second inning when the Royals loaded the bases. Pitching coach Sammy Ellis visited Parrish after he walked Hector Ortiz. Parrish got two quick strikes on Carlos Febles, missed twice and gave up a run-scoring single into center field.
Johnny Damon flew to center on a two-strike pitch, allowing Quinn to score and tying the game, 2-2. Quinn had singled after a lead-off walk to Randa.
Parrish also got two strikes on Rey Sanchez but couldn't finish him off. Sanchez lined a single to right, with Ortiz beating Albert Belle's throw on a close play. As catcher Brook Fordyce's tag was being applied too late, the Orioles were losing their fourth lead in two nights.
Stein's wildness gave it back to them in the third. Stein issued two bases-loaded walks, both on full counts, and unleashed a wild pitch before Fordyce belted a three-run homer to cap a pro-longed at-bat and give the Orioles an 8-3 lead. The crowd jeered as manager Tony Muser emerged from the dugout to remove Stein, who threw 77 pitches in 2 1/3 innings. The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Jerry Hairston, playing his second game since be-ing called up from Triple-A Rochester, walked on four pitches and moved up on a wild pitch. Melvin Mora brought him home with a double into the left field comer, his 10th RBI since being acquired in the July 28 trade with the New York Mets.
Mora scored when Belle looped a single to right. The ball bounced off Dye's leg and slipped from his grasp, and Mora raced home after initially holding at third. Belle was credited with an RBI before a scoring change later in the game took it away.
Hairston also reached on an in-field hit leading off the third inning and stole his first base of the season, then singled with two outs in the sixth before getting picked off by reliever Wilson. He continues to bat leadoff while Anderson deals with an injury that so far hasn't put him on the disabled list.