"Obviously it's been tough," Atkins said of his slump. "You want to be out there playing and proving that you deserve to play. And when you get chances to play and you don't perform well, it's frustrating."
"That's one more thing that everybody can put to bed now that he hit a home run," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
Facing a 1-2 count, Atkins drove Oakland right-hander Trevor Cahill's curveball 374 feet over the left-field fence at Camden Yards.
"I got ahead, I was feeling pretty confident and throwing the new curveball I've been working on, and I hung it right down the middle," Cahill said.
It was Atkins' first home run in the American League. His last roundtripper came as a member of the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 10, 2009, off the Cincinnati Reds' Kip Wells.
"Hopefully it's a sign of finding a swing," Atkins said. "In the past, when I've been able to find a swing, it's sustained itself for a while, so hopefully I just continue having quality at-bats, hitting balls hard like tonight. If I can do that two or three times a game, then things will turn around really quickly."
In his next two at-bats after the third-inning bash, Atkins hit a hard groundout to short and lined out to center.
Serving as the team's designated hitter for the second consecutive game, Atkins' blast marked his seventh RBI of the season and raised his average to .225. The struggling infielder has been DHing in the wake of Luke Scott's shoulder injury.
"When you get opportunities like that, you gotta take advantage of it," Atkins said. "The way things are going around here right now, if you're swinging the bat, they'll find somewhere to put you."
-- Noah Rosenstein