Nick Markakis hadn’t collected an extra-base hit since May 15 until hitting a grand slam and a two-run double tonight and setting a career high with six RBIs.
“I guess you could say it was a relief for me, but it was a relief for the whole team,” he said. “We got a big hit in a big situation and we had great pitching and great defense. You play good defense and you pitch, most of the times you win the game.”
The grand slam was a line drive that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in right field.
“I really didn’t see it because it was in the lights,” he said. “I didn’t know where it was. I knew I put a good swing on it. I knew I hit it hard. I looked at the umpire and that’s how I knew.”
Markakis will continue to put in the usual amount of pregame work. One game won’t change his routine.
“There’s still a lot more hard work to come,” he said. “I’m feeling better. I still don’t feel like I’m where I need to be. I’m just going to keep plugging away. We’ve got to take it game by game, at-bat by at-bat. You can’t worry about what has happened or what’s coming. You have to stay within yourself where you are right now.
“If it’s there, you’ll see the results. I’ve got a lot more work to do. I’ve been getting as much in as a I can. I’m not wearing myself out. That’s just the beauty of this game. We have a whole lot of games left to play. As a team we’ve put ourselves in a good position right now.”
Asked about his teammates pulling for him, Markakis said, “I think we’re pulling for everybody. Everybody needs to be pulling for everybody. That’s what teams do and that’s what good teams do. Everybody needs to contribute. We got some big runs in some big situations there and that’s what we need to build on, what we need to continue.”
Has there been an adjustment for Markakis after the Orioles changed hitting coaches over the winter?
“No. I don’t think so at all,” he replied. “Crow (Terry Crowley) is still around and Pres (Jim Presley) and Crow and we’re all in it for the same reason. As far as I’m concerned, as a team, we’re in a good situation. Two great hitting coaches in our organization. And whether he’s here or not, I’ve got to work with what I have, and Pres has been great. He’s been working with me every day, he’s been positive and that’s all you can really ask out of a hitting coach.”
Jake Arrieta gave the Orioles everything they could ask for with seven shutout innings. He allowed only two hits - third baseman Mark Reynolds easily could have been charged with an error on one of them - and took a no-hit bid into the sixth.
“It was good,” Arrieta said. “I went out and attacked the zone early with all my pitches. Was throwing everything for strikes, which was the game plan going in. In the sixth inning, I felt like I was a little uncomfortable throwing out of the stretch, the first time to do it in the game. Was rushing a little bit, lower half was a little bit quicker than my upper half. My arm was a little late kind of catching up with my lower half and that caused me to be a little erratic around the zone. But I got back under control and made some good pitches.”
Was he thinking about a no-hitter?
“To be honest with you, I think about it pretty much all game,” he replied. “You know you haven’t given up a hit and it’s something that...I’ve had a few outings like that, where you don’t give up a hit until the fifth or sixth and you sit there and think, ‘What if? What if tonight is the night?’ But you don’t really let that get to you. It’s just a thought in your mind, but you just continue to go out there and make quality pitches, and you never know what can happen.”
What does it mean for Arrieta to have eight wins in the second week of June?
“Just consistency for the team, giving us a chance to win pretty much every time I go out there, and that’s what our rotation has got to do,” he said. “You give up a few runs early or later, whatever the case may be. Just as long as at the end of the outing you’re able to keep your team in it and give yourself a chance to win a ball game is what it’s all about. And I’m just pretty happy I’ve been able to do that.”