Hearing from Markakis and Norris following 8-2 win

CHICAGO - Before returning to the clubhouse tonight following the Orioles’ 8-2 win over the White Sox, right fielder Nick Markakis headed to the weight room for a late-night workout at U.S. Cellular Field.

Three hits and a game-saving catch weren’t excuses to back off his normal routine.

Here’s a sampling of Markakis’ quotes:

markakis-wall-catch-gray-sidebar.jpgOn his catch
“I thought I had a shot at it the whole way. Just positioned myself where I thought the ball was going to land. I was going after it, doing everything I can to catch it, especially with the situation in the game. The way Bud (Norris) was pitching, you have to do everything to catch the ball.”

On how he felt after slamming into the fence
“Adrenaline’s going there, so it didn’t feel good. It felt good to catch the ball, so that’s all that matters.”

On beating Chris Sale
“I think we have good at-bats against him. We got his pitch count up early. That’s what you’ve got to do against those guys, go up there and have good at-bats, and when he leaves one over the plate, when he makes a mistake, you’ve got to do your best to put wood on it. I think we did that against a great pitcher.”

On being uncomfortable facing a left-hander such as Sale
“He’s a guy who has an unorthodox delivery and he throws the ball really hard. Like I said, go up there with a game plan, stick to it. Hopefully he leaves one over the plate or hangs one. That’s what you’ve got to do in a game like that.”

On his catch shifting the game’s momentum
“It helps us out tremendously in the context of taking the wind out of their sails a little bit. Like I said, a big situation in the game. I’m sure anybody on this team would have done the same thing, go hard after the ball and catch it.”

On the add-on runs in the eighth inning
“It was big. Schoopie (Jonathan Schoop) has been swinging the bat well. He’s been coming up big for us in big situations. It was a big hit for us. It just says a lot about our lineup, up and down the lineup. Anybody can produce at any time. Guys in front of him had great at-bats to get on base to put Schoopie in a great situation, a guy who’s been swinging the bat well. We need that down the stretch to continue what we’re doing.”

On whether tonight’s catch was better than the one on opening day 2011 at Tropicana Field
“I’ve got to say tonight. I don’t know if it would have gone out, I don’t know, but I’m glad I caught it in a big situation in the game.”

On whether he knew that he caught the ball right away
“I knew I had it. I saw it.”

On whether it feels better to hit a two-run homer or rob an opponent of one
“Robbing a two-run home run, especially in that situation in the game. It takes the wind out of their sails and shifts the momentum to us, going back to the eighth inning there. We scored a lot of runs there. We did a good job.”

Bud Norris improved to 11-7 with a 3.69 ERA. He retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced before running into trouble in the seventh and allowing both runs.

Here’s a sampling of Norris’ quotes:

On how he felt
“Just really got in the groove from the get-go. Caleb (Joseph) gets a lot of credit. We had a really good rapport going in. Guys playing some defense. And (Nick) Markakis with an unbelievable catch.”

On his reaction to the catch
“I saw him tracking it. I knew he had a play on it. I didn’t think he was going to go over the fence for that. (Conor Gillaspie) put a pretty good swing on it. It was a decent pitch, 1-0 count and Markakis made an unbelievable play and kind of shows everybody, which was pretty special. That changes the game right there. They would have taken the lead. Changed completely the game.”

On the catch pumping up the team
“I think so, yeah. This team has a lot of fun. We kind of go off each other and it’s been fun to watch all year. We go out there every day and play hard. One guy picks up the other and we just feed off each other. It’s a 25-man roster that’s been getting the job done and we’re pretty excited about it.”

On whether he had extra motivation facing Sale
“I wouldn’t say so. My job is controlling their lineup. But you figure it’s going to be a low-scoring affair. He’s having an unbelievable year and he’s an unbelievable pitcher. But our guys swung the bats and gave me a two-run cushion, which is a big cushion almost to that degree. So, it was a big win here and we’ll have the chance to do it tomorrow again.”

On whether he thought about going the distance
“It definitely crept in there, which is fine, but I’m just really trying to attack the strike zone and get one pitch at a time and get outs. My mentality this year and last year, too, is really one pitch at a time. It’s really all you can control. I know the pitch count means a lot to you guys, but it’s more about how I feel and Buck (Showalter) made the decision and I’m OK with it.”

On whether he felt as though he dominated the White Sox through six innings
“It wasn’t a bunch of strikeouts. They were definitely hitting the ball and hitting it right at guys. It definitely helps when you’re getting outs right at guys. (Jose) Abreu hit a hard ground ball that’s probably a base hit, but we had the shift on, too. That being said, you’re trying to get guys out as quick as you can with the least amount of pitches you can and it was just a good day.”

On tonight’s game being an example of why the Orioles are in first place
“I’d say so. We play hard for all nine. We don’t give up. Whether we’re up five or down five, we all play hard. I think that’s just the way Buck’s got us going out there and it’s a lot of fun to watch and we want to keep it going. I knew it was going to be a tough match-up going in, but I just wanted to do my part.”

On what it means to have a career-high 11 wins
“It means everything to me. That’s what my job is to do, to go out there and win ballgames. Being the starting pitcher in a five-man rotation, (my job) is to go out there and give your team every opportunity to win. We’re having an unbelievable season, but I want to be as big a piece of the puzzle as I can be and help the team any way I can.”

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