Nick Markakis, trying to hold onto the third outfield spot in the American League for the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field, padded his home run total with his eighth of the season in the bottom of the first inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead over the Indians.
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez threw a changeup and curveball to Markakis before challenging him with a 93 mph fastball. It kept carrying until it cleared the center field fence.
Markakis hadn’t homered since connecting off former Tigers closer Jose Valverde on May 31 - a leadoff shot in the ninth inning that eventually was followed by Chris Dickerson’s three-run, walk-off homer.
Markakis began the night bating .311/.361/.463 in his last 40 games since May 9.
Markakis ranks third among A.L. outfielders with 1,915,860 votes, holding a slim lead over three-time All-Star Jose Bautista (1,867,367) of the Blue Jays and four-time All-Star Torii Hunter (1,851,657) of the Tigers. Markakis has never played in an All-Star Game.
Matt Wieters walked in the second inning. He’s batting seventh tonight for only the second time this season.
Wieters also hit seventh on May 26 in Toronto and went 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBIs. He’s currently in a 5-for-37 slump.
Orioles starter Zach Britton retired the first two batters, throwing two- and four-seam fastballs, before hitting Jason Kipnis with two outs and giving up a single to Nick Swisher. He retired Carlos Santana on a fly ball on his 18th pitch of the inning.
Britton retired the side in order with two strikeouts. He’s gotten called third strikes on all three strikeouts tonight.
Former Oriole Mark Reynolds flied out to Markakis leading off the top of the second inning. Markakis made the catch in foul territory.
Chris Davis has 51 extra-base hits in 76 games, putting him on pace for 109 this season. The club record is 92 by Brady Anderson in 1996.
Manny Machado is on pace for 87 extra-base hits.
According to STATS, Machado’s 34 doubles are tied for the third-most before the All-Star break since 1997, trailing Magglio Ordonez (35 in 2007) and Mike Sweeney (35 in 2001).
Update: Ryan Flaherty singled in the second inning after homering twice yesterday. He’s 9-for-20 during a six-game hitting streak.
Britton totaled three strikeouts in his first two starts. He had five in three innings tonight.
Britton retired five in a row before walking Reynolds with two outs in the top of the fourth. He’s shutting out the Indians on two hits.
The Orioles are 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and have stranded five in the first three innings.
Update II: Wieters homered leading off the bottom of the fourth inning - his first since June 15, his fourth RBI since June 5 and his fourth extra-base hit since June 1.
Flaherty reached on a bunt single, making him 2-for-2 tonight and 10-for-21 during his six-game hitting streak.