Markakis on the end of extra-base hit drought (plus other clubhouse quotes)

Several minutes after the Orioles had beaten Oakland 10-3, Nick Markakis talked about ending his 31-game drought without an extra-base hit and his 51-game homerless stretch this afternoon.

“I’m just glad I hit the ball hard,” Markakis said. “Where it goes, sometimes you have no control over it. I just want to go up with a good approach and hit the ball hard. Just continue to look for a good pitch, put a good swing on it, and wherever it goes, it goes.”

Since 1997, only Julio Lugo had a longer extra-base hit drought as an Oriole, at 35 games in 2010. Also that season, both Josh Bell and Cesar Izturis had 31-game droughts.

Markakis doesn’t feel his recent falloff in power is related to his injuries from last year.

“I don’t think so because I came back last year and thought I swung the bat pretty well. You know baseball, you go through your things and it’s a matter of working them out,” he said.

Now the Orioles hope to build on their latest win as they begin an important nine-game road trip Tuesday at Boston.

“Continue to play the way we are playing right now,” Markakis said. “When we are all clicking and on the same page, we are a pretty tough lineup to go through. We just have to stay within ourselves, have good at-bats and hit the ball hard. Just got to continue with it.”

Markakis is back playing in a pennant race after his season ended in early September with a thumb injury in 2012.

“Basically, it is why I’m playing baseball. Just unfortunate, bad timing last year. That is the risk you take going between the white lines every day. We have enough confidence to get back there and we’ll see where it takes it us,” he said.

Manny Machado went first to third in the last of the first inning today and that seemed to set a tone for the Orioles with some aggressive baserunning early in today’s game.

“Just opportunities,” Machado said. “We tried to score early and be aggressive. That’s how we play. We took advantage of those extra bases in the early innings. When you struggle with runners in scoring position, we have to get those guys in no matter what. From now on, each run is huge for us.”

Machado was asked about Markakis ending the extra-base drought.

“We need him. Struggles happen to all of us. Hope it continues and I know it will. Lot of baseball left,” he said.

Scott Feldman held the A’s to one run through five innings even though he walked four and ran his pitch count to 102 through five.

“It was a battle from the get go,” Feldman said. “You never feel good about going only five, but anytime you can get a win and keep the damage off the board, you have to feel good about it.

“Made some pitches when I had to. There were some guys I wasn’t going to let beat me. I wasn’t surprised to get through five, but a little disappointed I didn’t get through six or seven but the guys picked me up and we got the series win here.”

Nate McLouth, who went 2-for-5 with a homer, is now batting .464 (13-for-28) this season against Oakland with three doubles, two homers, nine runs and seven RBIs in seven games.

“We did a lot of things good today,” he said. “Especially after that first inning when they went up 1-0 and Feldman couldn’t really find a rythm. We had a couple of aggressive first to thirds there and it was nice to get those runs right back.”

McLouth was particularly pleased that the O’s picked up three sac flies today for the first time this season and just the third time since 2000 with the most recent coming April 26, 2011 vs. Boston.

“If there is something you can criticize about us, we maybe struggle at times with runners on third with less than two outs and getting guys in. Today, to have three sac flies, they don’t look pretty, but they are effective and they are very important,” McLouth said.

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