Tatis delivers for O's in return to starting lineup

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Fernando Tatis surfaced again Thursday
night after all but disappearing from baseball for two years.

Tatis, starting in the major leagues for the first time since
June 15, 2003, had two hits, drove in a run and scored twice to
lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City

"This guy was a heck of a player and then he kind of dropped
off the face of the earth for a couple of years and now he's back,
so it's nice to see him back," said Kevin Millar, who homered in
the sixth to put the Orioles ahead 3-2. "I wish him good things.
He's a great guy, a great teammate. I'm happy for him to be back."

Tatis hit 34 home runs, drove in 107 runs and became the first
player to hit two grand slams in the same inning in 1999, with St.
Louis. Then groin, shoulder and knee injuries took their toll on
him and Tatis missed the final 92 games of the 2003 season with
inflammation in his chest wall.

"I'm very excited," said Tatis, who had his first multihit
game since May 7, 2003. "I'm healthy. I'm 100 percent. I just
wanted to go out and try to have a good game, just be myself. The
best part is we won the game."

Tatis, who was released by Tampa Bay in spring training in 2004
and did not play professional baseball the past two seasons,
doubled in the seventh and scored on a fielding error by third
baseman Mark Teahen.

In the Orioles' two-run eighth, Javy Lopez led off with a
double, advanced on Corey Patterson's bunt single and scored on
pinch-hitter Nick Markakis' groundout. Tatis drove in the second
run with a groundout to make it 6-3.

Jeff Conine, who had four hits Wednesday, had a two-run single
in the third as the Orioles took a 2-0 lead.

"I'm not surprised," Conine said of Tatis' performance. "He's
obviously got a track record. He's a pretty good baseball player.
It was nice to see him have a good night. He was with us in spring
training and was biding his time."

The 31-year-old third baseman signed a minor league contract
with the Orioles last November and was invited to spring training.
He began the season with Triple-A Ottawa, hitting .298 in 90 games
before he was promoted on Friday.

"He came into shape and was in good shape," Baltimore manager
Sam Perlozzo said. "He went to Triple-A and went about his
business as a professional and earned his way up."

The Royals opened the fifth with consecutive singles by Mark Grudzielanek, Teahen, Matt Stairs and Emil Brown. Brown's single
drove in one run and Kansas City tied it on Angel Berroa's
sacrifice fly.

Teahen's error gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead and Berroa's second
sacrifice fly made it a one-run game in the seventh.

Grudzielanek had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

Orioles right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who entered the game with a
6.73 ERA, the second-highest in the American League, allowed two
runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, but the Royals stranded 10
runners in the first six innings. Lopez (7-11) lowered his ERA to

Grudzielanek and Stairs each had three of the Royals' 14 hits,
but they were just 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

"Four runs on 14 hits, we definitely left some guys out
there," Teahen said. "We had 14 hits, but we've got to come up
with a few clutch hits and capitalize on that."

Jimmy Gobble gave up two runs and five hits in five innings
before being replaced by Duckworth, who was making his first relief
appearance of the season after eight starts.

"The main focus was make sure I got ahead and was trying to
induce contact early," Gobble said. "It was better than I had
before, but five innings, you want more."

Chris Ray worked a perfect ninth to earn his 26th save in 27

The Orioles, who have lost 30 of their past 46 road games, took
two of three from the Royals to win only their fourth road series.

Game notes
Royals DH Mike Sweeney, who has missed 77 games with a
bulging disk, went 1-for-7 with a home run, a walk and two
strikeouts in two rehab games with Class-A Burlington in the
Midwest League. Sweeney was off Thursday and will join the Double-A
Wichita on Friday. ... After 103 games last year, the Orioles were
51-52. This year they are 47-56. ... RHP Joe Nelson's wild pitch in
the seventh was the Royals' 57th, which leads the majors.