- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 3, 2002

TORONTO (AP) Gary Matthews Jr. capped an improbable comeback with a redeeming home run.

Matthews hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning last night as the Baltimore Orioles rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-8.

The Orioles couldn't recover after Matthews' misplay led to an inside-the-park home run in a 7-1 loss at SkyDome on July 17. In the second inning of that game, Toronto's Ken Huckaby hit a ball that bounced just in front of diving right fielder Matthews, who thought it was foul and took his time retrieving the ball. Huckaby scored standing up.

"I had one of those embarrassing moments when I was here, but tonight I played well," Matthews said.

Matthews' dad, a former star outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, reamed out his son over the phone after that game. Gary Sr. is a former hitting coach and broadcaster for the Blue Jays.

"He had some choice words for me that you can't really put in print," Matthews said. "I learned from it, and I've moved on."

Down 8-1 in the fifth, the Orioles scored two in the sixth, three in the seventh and three in the ninth.

"We just didn't get down. We just kept battling," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said.

Toronto closer Kelvim Escobar (5-6) walked Jerry Hairston and Melvin Mora on eight straight pitches to open the ninth inning. Escobar then struck out Chris Singleton for the first out, but Matthews followed with his sixth home run, giving Baltimore the lead.

B.J. Ryan (2-0) got two outs for the victory, and Jorge Julio pitched the ninth for his 21st save.

Toronto's Chris Woodward had four RBI, including a solo home run in the fifth inning off Chris Brock that gave Toronto an 8-1 lead.

Singleton's two-run homer off Scott Eyre in the seventh cut Toronto's lead to 8-6.

Mora also homered for the Orioles, who had lost their previous five games and 14 of 16 to the Blue Jays.

"This was big," Baltimore starter Scott Erickson said. "We did a great job of not giving up."

Erickson allowed seven runs on a season-high 11 hits in just three innings. In his previous start, Erickson gave up seven runs in three innings against Boston.

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