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Patterson's three-run homer powers O's past Royals

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Even when he struggled earlier this season,
Corey Patterson remained confident in his ability.

His upbeat attitude and self-assuredness were apparently
justified.

Patterson homered, had four RBI and scored the tiebreaking run
in the eighth inning, leading the Baltimore Orioles past the Kansas
City Royals 6-5 Friday night.

Patterson hit a three-run homer in the second inning and drove
in a run in the sixth with a groundout before leading off the
eighth with a single against Elmer Dessens (2-3). He stole second
as Kevin Millar struck out and went to third on a grounder before
scoring on a single by rookie Brandon Fahey.

"You like him better every time you see him, don't you? I know
I do," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

There was a time earlier this season when Perlozzo wondered if
Patterson would ever be a significant contributor to the team.

Patterson was batting .067 on April 18 as a part-time player. At
that point, it seemed the offseason trade that brought him to
Baltimore from the Chicago Cubs would be a bust.

"Probably a little bit, but in fairness to him I didn't give
him a shot. I didn't play him much," Perlozzo said.

Patterson is now a regular in the lineup, and over his last 16
games he's 20-for-58 (.345). His .288 batting average is only a
small portion of how he has helped the Orioles -- Patterson has also
played solid defense in center and has a team-high nine steals.

"At the beginning of this year, I went over a lot of different
scenarios in my head. I told myself how I was going to respond and
react to it, and sure enough it happened," he said, referring to
his slow start. "But you don't worry about it, you don't dwell on
it. My goal this year was to come in and be positive regardless of
what the situation was."

Perlozzo never lost faith in Patterson, and his patience has
paid off.

"I felt like his chance would come," the manager said. "Give
credit to the kid. His mental attitude was never down."

Todd Williams (1-0) pitched two innings of one-hit relief and
Chris Ray got three outs for his ninth save.

Ramon Hernandez had two hits and scored twice for the Orioles,
who had lost six of seven and nine of 11.

Emil Brown homered and drove in two runs for the Royals, whose
modest three-game winning streak ended. Kansas City is a major
league-worst 2-15 on the road.

"People say you always have a little different feel when you're
on the road. I never could buy into that," Royals manager Buddy
Bell said. "The game is pretty much the same regardless of where
you play unless you're in Coors Field or something like that. I
don't see why we should have a different feel."

Down 3-1, Kansas City got six hits in a four-run sixth. After
Reggie Sanders singled and went to third on a double by Brown,
Sendy Rleal replaced starter Erik Bedard and gave up an RBI single
to Tony Graffanino.

Angel Berroa followed with a run-scoring single and John Buck
hit into a double play before Justin Huber doubled in a run and
scored on a single by Kerry Robinson.

Baltimore tied it at 5 in the bottom half. A walk and two
singles loaded the bases against starter Runelvys Hernandez, and
Patterson drove in a run with a grounder off Andrew Sisco before
Millar hit a sacrifice fly.

"A four-pitch walk in the sixth," Bell lamented. "Nobody out,
a four-pitch walk after we score four."

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the
seventh against Joel Peralta before Ramon Hernandez struck out and
Jeff Conine hit a popup.

Kansas City wasted a leadoff double by Graffanino in the eighth
when Angel Berroa failed to advance him with a bunt.

"Guys who are pretty good bunters just weren't able to do it
tonight," Bell said.

Brown's homer gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Patterson hit his fourth home run in the bottom half, a shot over
the right-field scoreboard that followed singles by Ramon Hernandez
and Conine.

Game notes
Orioles starters have gone eight straight games without a
win. ... Sanders had missed six consecutive games with a tight left
hamstring. ... Baltimore's Miguel Tejada was in a 3-for-33 skid
before hitting a seventh-inning single.