SAN JOSE, CALIF., JUNE 27 -- Edwin Moses raced back to the top of the hurdling hill today. For Carl Lewis and Evelyn Ashford, however, a third day of hard sprinting at the 112th USA/Mobil Outdoor Track and Field championships proved strictly downhill. And Butch Reynolds must await another day before he makes local legend Lee Evans a has-been.

Moses, running on the lane inside Danny Harris, made up the stagger by the midpoint of the race and dashed off to a convincing eight-meter victory over the man who three weeks ago ended his 400-meter hurdles victory streak at 122.

Lewis, after a horrible start in the 100-meter final, came within inches of catching leader Mark Witherspoon before being hobbled by a strained left hamstring as he reached the finish line. Witherspoon won in 10.04, a personal best, while depriving Lewis, second in 10.05, of a triple. Lewis won the long jump and 200 meters on Friday.

"It's great that I could pull it off," Witherspoon said. "I've had a couple of car accidents and injuries that have really hampered me. Last Thursday {June 18}, I had a car accident and my knees hit up against the dashboard and my feet got bent back."

Ashford had worse luck than Lewis, tearing her left hamstring as she battled to finish fourth in the semifinals of the women's 100. In the final, sans Ashford, the first four runners went under 11 seconds, although wind-aided, with Diane Williams winning in 10.90.

Reynolds showed the effects of three days of difficult competition, but he nevertheless matched the meet record he set in Friday's semifinal, winning the 400 meters in 44.46, ahead of Roddie Haley and Antonio McKay.

Reynolds recently was timed in 44.10, best ever at sea level, and it appears that only an injury can keep him from erasing Evans' world mark of 43.86, established in 1968 in Mexico City. Earlier this week, Reynolds sought a psychological edge by visiting the San Jose State track where Evans trained for his Olympian effort.

"I wasn't as smooth as I wanted to be, but running three days in a row takes a lot out of us," Reynolds said. "I'd never done three days in a row before. You can't run 43 under these conditions. But it's a big one for me. It proves I'm the best in the U.S."

The Moses-Harris race was eagerly awaited by track buffs, after Harris' breakthrough in Madrid June 4. But the rematch proved to be no contest, Moses winning in 47.99 while Harris placed second in 48.70, barely edging David Patrick.

Moses, 31, obviously hoped to intimidate Harris, 10 years younger, by making up the stagger early, and he succeeded, racing past his less experienced opponent by the fifth hurdle.

Asked about it, Moses replied, "No comment." But Harris admitted that, "I lost my concentration when he went past me. He made a strong move, stronger than I've ever seen any runner do. I couldn't see him, but I felt him on the inside. You have to give him credit. He came back and ran like a champion."

Moses said, "I lost a whole step at the start and I made several other mistakes. I think I could have run faster. But it's hot and, considering we had three days of competition, I felt I ran a good race. I was ahead from the second hurdle on and I took it from there."

Asked about his 47.99, Moses said, "It's a good time. I did run a better time in Spain, though." That produced considerable laughter; in Madrid, Moses was timed in 47.69, Harris 47.56.

Mike Conley, third in the long jump Friday, won the triple jump today at 58-7 1/2, third best performance in history. Willie Banks, who owns the world record of 58-11 1/2, was second at 57-9, edging Charlie Simpkins by a half inch.

"I'm going to try and break the world record," Conley said. "I'd like to think I can if I was rested. Today I felt strong, but sore."

The high jump produced one of the major surprises of the day. Jerome Carter of Bel Air, Md., finally fulfilled the potential he first displayed four years ago at Harford (Md.) Community College by winning his first national title at 7-7. He later came close in a bid for a U.S. record of 7-9 1/4.

Carter, who edged Lee Balkin on fewer misses, said, "It means a lot to me. I've been at the record a lot of time and I continue to choke. The first attempt today was nice, but after that I started to really think I could make it and I tried too hard."

Jimmy Howard, who three weeks ago boosted his U.S. record to 7-8 3/4, was unable to clear the opening height of 7-3 today.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the heptathlon winner on Wednesday, completed a double today by taking the women's long jump with a meet-record 23-4 1/2, best official outdoor jump ever in the U.S. Joyner-Kersee had a wind-aided 23-9 1/2 on Wednesday.

Joe Dial captured the pole vault on a jumpoff at 19-0 1/4 with Earl Bell after they and three others had missed three times at that height.

Two veterans continued their dominance of events in this meet. Henry Marsh, 33, earned his seventh straight title, ninth overall, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and John Powell, 40, took his fifth in a row, seventh overall, in the discus.

Sydney Maree won the 5,000 meters, but the principal cheers of the 13,724 fans were directed at John Gregorek, who tangled with Chris Fox and fell while contending for the lead.

Only a mile remained and Gregorek was 14th when he arose, but he gamely raced back to third within two laps before fading and finishing 11th.

Lillie Leatherwood-King won the women's 400 meters in 49.95 as pace-setter Valerie Brisco faded to fourth in the stretch. Sonja Fridy of Virginia was fifth.

Tim Lewis set a meet record of 1:24:12 in the 20-kilometer walk, finishing almost two minutes before the runner-up, Olympian Carl Schueler of Silver Spring, Md., and Frostburg State.