Markakis speaks

SARASOTA, Fla. - Today’s attendance: 7,497. That’s a record for Ed Smith Stadium.

Jason Berken gave up two runs in the top of the seventh inning while I was waiting for Nick Markakis in the clubhouse. That’s what happens when I leave my seat.

The Orioles held a 10-6 lead in the bottom of the seventh until Brandon Snyder doubled to score two runs. Make it 12-6.

David Riske only retired two batters in the sixth. He allowed the back-to-back homers to Manny Ramirez and B.J. Upton, and Casey Kotchman’s two-out single brought manager Buck Showalter from the dugout.

Markakis packed four RBIs into four innings.

“A good way to kick it off,” he said. “It’s nice to have all the fans out here and get the first day out of the way. We started out good. We’re swinging the bats well. And Jeremy (Guthrie) went out there and pitched great.”

Markakis homered twice off Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine, who’s projected to be a long reliever this season.

“The first pitch was a cutter down and in,” Markakis said, “and the second one was a fastball he left kind of in the same place.”

Markakis reminded reporters that the lineup is still missing Derrek Lee.

“We’re going to swing the bats. There’s no question,” he said. “We definitely have the depth, we have the lineup. We have a helluva ballclub here. It’s going to be fun and exciting throughout the whole year.”

Like everyone else, Markakis is impressed by his new surroundings. And I don’t mean the lineup.

“The facility is pretty unbelievable,” he said, “and we still have a lot to go with the locker room and everything else around it. But the field and - I don’t know how the amenities are up there - but everything looks great. You can’t complain. It’s a new ballpark and it’s pretty awesome to be able to play in it.”

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