- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2001


TORONTO Jay Gibbons may be downplaying this whole revenge thing against the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Baltimore Orioles rookie's sheer numbers seem to indicate that he is, at the very least, a little motivated when he faces the team that gave up on him last winter.
Gibbons was at it again last night, going 2-for-4 with a monstrous three-run homer his fourth in as many games against Toronto in the Orioles' 8-2 romp before 18,243 at SkyDome.
Baltimore's early offensive heroics, highlighted by a four-run first inning, were more than enough support for starting pitcher Willis Roberts, who recorded his first win in a month and his first road victory ever.
"I don't think too much about it when I throw a bad game," said Roberts, who admitted he felt as good last night as he has in awhile.
After watching Gibbons homer in every game he's played against the Blue Jays, who left the 23-year-old power hitter exposed in last December's Rule 5 draft, the Orioles can only hope their latest acquisition from Toronto third baseman Tony Batista, signed off waivers yesterday proves to be as productive.
Making his first appearance at SkyDome, Gibbons looked like he couldn't wait to start taking hacks in the same stadium he envisioned he'd break into the big leagues. With two runners on and one run already across the plate in the top of the first, the rookie left fielder crushed Joey Hamilton's 3-2 pitch into the second deck in right-center field.
"I finally made it to the SkyDome," Gibbons said. "It's a little different situation, but I'll definitely take it."
Gibbons' seventh homer of the season and fifth in his last seven games put the Orioles up 4-0 and left him tied for third on the team in home runs, despite having received at least 61 fewer at-bats than teammates David Segui, Mike Bordick, Jeff Conine and Chris Richard.
Baltimore added a run in the fifth when Conine (3-for-5) rapped his second RBI single of the night, then blew the game open on Brady Anderson's two-run double off the right-field wall in the sixth and an RBI double by Melvin Mora (3-for-5) in the seventh.
The Orioles' productive night at the plate allowed Roberts to work his way out of a shaky first inning en route to one of his best outings of the year. After surrendering a two-run double to Carlos Delgado in the bottom of the first, Roberts (6-6) proceeded to give up two more hits over his next six innings, earning his first win since May 24 against the Anaheim Angels.
"He was overthrowing all his pitches probably the first four innings," manager Mike Hargrove said. "After that, he really took command of the game."
The rookie right-hander, who began the season 4-0, was 1-6 in his last nine starts, though he pitched well enough to win in his most recent outing Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards. In that game, Roberts departed with a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning after complaining of tightness in his right biceps, only to watch the Baltimore bullpen blow the lead.
He showed no effects of the injury last night, tossing a season-high 118 pitches, 71 for strikes. Roberts' seven-inning performance also gave the Orioles' decimated bullpen a chance to get itself back in order. Mike Trombley, grossly overworked in recent weeks, made his first appearance in four days and pitched a scoreless eighth before giving way to Buddy Groom in the ninth.
"We're getting healthier out there by the day," Hargrove said. "It was good to get us through seven and to give Trombley and Groom some work. We're slowly but surely getting it back in line."

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