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Updated: Sunday, June 27, 2004 6:34 PM EDT
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ATLANTA 8, BALTIMORE 7
 

BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- On the final day of a road trip, the last thing expected from the slumping Atlanta Braves was a seven-run rally.

The Braves stunned the Baltimore Orioles with seven runs in the eighth inning for an 8-7 victory that gave them their first series win in nearly a month.

Atlanta had not won a series since taking two of three from Montreal from May 31-June 2. It was 2-3 on its road trip, getting blanked twice.

The Braves looked like they were on their way to another shutout loss, falling behind, 7-0, after six innings. But they got a run in the seventh before erupting in the eighth, sending 11 batters to the plate.

"Some comeback," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Generally, you don't have a lot of comebacks when you're down seven runs. But they were hootin' and hollerin' in the dugout to get it going, and they did."

"We had not won two games in a row in a while," outfielder Andruw Jones said. "They made a couple of mistakes in that inning and we took advantage of them."

Eli Marrero singled, J.D. Drew homered to make it 7-3 and Chipper Jones singled, chasing Mike DeJean for Jason Grimsley (3-4), who threw away Mike Hessman 's topper for an error.

"The comeback came from good at-bats," Drew said, "plus the Grimsley throwing error. Those things kept us in it. We just got things to click, balls we hit found some holes and I got a hold of a fastball on the homer."

Andruw Jones struck out, but Johnny Estrada - celebrating his 28th birthday - stroked his second run-scoring single of the game and Mark DeRosa singled in a run to make it 7-5.

Nick Green 's RBI double made it 7-6, and the Braves tied it on Rafael Furcal 's infield hit that second baseman Brian Roberts bobbled. Facing B.J. Ryan, Marrero beat out a double-play grounder, allowing Green to score the go-ahead run.

"Greenie got the huge hit, but it was a total team effort," DeRosa said. "It was guys bearing down and putting the ball in play."

The rally made a winner of reliever Juan Cruz (1-0), who pitched one scoreless inning. John Smoltz got the last out of the eighth and worked around a double by Miguel Tejada in the ninth for his 13th save, striking out former teammate Javy Lopez on sliders.

"With Javy, knowing him all those years, I've seen him hit sliders," Smoltz said. "If I make those pitches, I know I'm going to get him out. That's probably the worst baseball game we've won in a long time. Hopefully, it's a good sign. We have to build on a game like this. I'm not going to quit on this team."

Baltimore has lost 11 of its last 14 games. Asked if this was the toughest loss of the year, manager Lee Mazzilli replied, "It is for me."

Orioles starter Matt Riley pitched six scoreless innings before allowing Estrada's RBI single in the seventh before retiring a batter. That snapped a string of 24 consecutive scoreless innings by Baltimore starters.

"Every loss is disappointing," Riley said. "They are all hard to deal with. Balls found holes in this one. It's what happens. It's a crazy game."

The Orioles jumped on Braves starter Jaret Wright for two runs in the second and added five in the sixth on a two-run double by Luis Matos , a two-run single by Roberts and an RBI single by David Newhan , who extended his hitting streak to nine games.


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