O's hitting coach Jim Presley talks about Nick Markakis (O's get early lead)

Nick Markakis has now gone 31 games without an extra-base hit and 51 games, since June 24, without a home run.

Orioles batting coach Jim Presley doesn't feel there is any one specific reason for the power falloff for Markakis, who is batting .210 with an OPS of .500 in 20 August games.

"I think it is more mental than anything," Presley said. "I think he feels like he should drive the ball better. It's been a while since he's had an extra-base hit. He knows it. We all know it. It happens.

"Before this homestand, he was hitting .285 and swinging pretty good. I think he got a little tired toward the end of the last road trip. (Matt) Wieters had it early in the year, Jonsey (Adam Jones) had it early in the year. They all get a little fatigued, and I think that has had a lot to do with the last 10 days."

One theory is that Markakis is still feeling the impact of two 2012 injuries, a right hamate bone fracture that required in-season surgery last year and his broken thumb from last September when he was hit by a CC Sabathia pitch.

"I mean, it's got a little bit to do with it," Presley said. "That thumb thing, that is a pretty severe injury. But he is so tough mentally, he doesn't feel like anything affects him, and that is what you want in a player. He is what you want in an everyday guy. The mentality, the mental toughness."

Recently, former O's hitting coach and current instructor Terry Crowley, along with Presley, spent time working with Markakis.

"We looked at some stuff (video) from three or four years ago and also from two to three months ago when he was swinging it good," Presley said. "But I think it's more of a mental process than anything. When you get tired physically and mentally, 92 (mph) can look like 97. The past few days, I just told him to clear his mind and and go up there and barrel the ball up and hit it where it's pitched and see what happens."

O's lead early today: Behind some aggressive early baserunning and a few clutch hits, the O's took a 5-1 lead after two innings today. They got RBIs from five different players including Chris Davis, who came up with RBI No. 118.

A's starter Sonny Gray had allowed just four earned runs on 10 hits over 21 innings in his first three major league starts. Today, in just two innings, he gave up six hits and five runs, all earned.

After going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Saturday, the O's start 3-for-5 today in the first two innings.

Markakis doubles: Markakis' double in the last of the third ended his 31-game stretch without an extra-base hit and was his first since a double July 19 versus Texas.

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