Patterson hit 16 home runs last year but entered the first series after the All-Star break this season with only two. One of those came against Chicago on July 5, and Patterson connected again Friday night against White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle.
The surge continued yesterday when Patterson drilled a pitch from Jose Contreras off the right-field foul pole in the fifth inning, giving him four homers and the Orioles a 5-1 lead.
"I was just really trying to work on staying back and trusting my hands," Patterson said.
Interim manager Dave Trembley said the key for Patterson is reducing the strike zone and swinging at quality pitches.
"If he shrinks the strike zone, he's usually going to put the good part of the bat on the ball," Trembley said. "When his strike zone is expanded and he swings at pitches over his head and in the dirt, it's real tough to protect."
Patterson said he hasn't changed his approach.
"As long as I stay nice and relaxed, I don't worry about swinging at balls and strikes," he said.
Trachsel on track
Steve Trachsel reported only the usual next-day soreness from Saturday night's injury rehabilitation start at Single-A Frederick.
Trachsel, recovering from a strained gluteus muscle, threw 95 pitches in seven innings. He'll have a bullpen session today or tomorrow before making Saturday's start in Oakland.
"I felt pretty good," he said. "I was a little rusty, a little strong early from the time off."
Trembley hasn't announced a starter for Saturday, leaving rookie Garrett Olson in the mix. But a team official confirmed Trachsel will take the turn.
It won't be the same for Trachsel as when he faced Single-A hitters Saturday. "They swing at anything that's over the plate," he said, smiling. "They swing at setup pitches."
Bynum 'coming along'
On the disabled list since July 7 with a strained left hamstring, utility player Freddie Bynum could begin baseball-related activities when the Orioles return from their West Coast trip that concludes Sunday.
"I think he'll be able to come off when he's supposed to," Trembley said.
Bynum suffered the injury July 6 while running out a ground ball in Texas.
"It's a lot better than it was at the beginning. It's coming along good," he said. "I'm just taking is slowly and making sure it's right. I'm not trying to rush it."
Millar's stock rising
It has become newsworthy when Kevin Millar doesn't get a hit.
Millar went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run yesterday, making him 5-for-14 in the series. He has hit safely in 16 of 22 games since June 14, batting .386.
Millar remains one of the Orioles' most marketable players as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. Each game lately seems to raise his value to a contender.
"I'm sure there are a lot of teams that would like a lot of these players that we have out here," Trembley said. "I'm sure with [president of baseball operations] Andy MacPhail being the new guy on the block, some people are going to try to pick his pocket by trying to sneak one by him. I think Andy's probably way too intuitive and way too sharp for that to happen."
Around the horn
A scoring change has resulted in Brian Roberts getting credit for a stolen base in the 10th inning of Saturday night's game, raising his total to 28, tops in the American League. The play was originally ruled defensive indifference. ... The Orioles won their first Sunday game since May 27.