Markakis on reaching 1,500 hits, Tillman on Markakis and the win

Nick Markakis supplied an answer you would expect today when he was asked about reaching 1,500 career hits. He noted the achievement, but the win meant more.

“It’s pretty cool,” Markakis said. “Lot of hard work, time and dedication and it pays off, but I don’t look at things like that. The scoreboard is the main outcome. We won whether I got no hits or three hits, it’s a victory.”

It was the first time in club history that the Orioles won a 1-0 game on a leadoff homer. It was the 28th time in club history the Orioles won 1-0 and the only run came on a homer.

markakis-from-below-white-blue-sky-sidebar.jpgFor Markakis, he had been a leadoff hitter 191 games before today. But this was his first leadoff homer. He took a 3-2 pitch from Hisashi Iwakuma over the right-field wall to start his day.

“I didn’t even know that (it was my first leadoff homer),” Markakis said. “I don’t know what to say to it. Good to get the first one out of the way, right?

“Look for a ball up in the zone. Last time I faced him, there were a lot of splits down. He’s the type of pitcher you have to wait him out and get him up in the zone. When he is up in the zone, don’t miss it. I saw the ball up and didn’t miss it.”

Markakis began the day with 1,498 hits and ended with 1,501 after adding a single and double in a 3-for-4 day.

The Orioles scored six runs in this series, yet won two of three.

“What is the outcome? That is what we’re out here to do, win ballgames, whether it’s one run like today or 10 runs. A win is a win,” he said.

“We’ll get the offense going, it’s just a matter of time. It’s August of a long baseball season. Guys are getting tired, but once that playoff push comes, it’s adrenaline time. We’ve got a great offense. I believe in our offense and we’ll get things going.”

With Toronto losing 6-1 to Houston today, the Orioles’ American League East lead grew to 3 1/2 games.

“That’s what we have to do to put ourselves in a good situation toward the end of the season,” Markakis said. “We know what kind of teams we have to face and what our schedule is like. Just have to win the game that day.”

A reporter asked Markakis if he thought the general public appreciated his play and career.

“I have no idea. All that really matters to me is what my teammates think,” he said. “If you can put yourself on that field every day and give your team a chance to win, that says a lot about a lot of the players we have here.

“It’s a long, tough season. You have to have a good mental state. You’ll have some tough and good stretches, but you get an opportunity every day. That’s the beauty of baseball. If you get respected by your teammates, that’s all that matters.”

Chris Tillman gave the Orioles seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball today. He is now 2-5 with an ERA of 2.78 at home.

“It was a good start,” he said. “Little inconsistent early on with my fastball and got a little behind in the pitch count. But hats off to (Nick) Hundley for sticking with me with the fastball.

“The fastball command slowly got better and better as the game went on. Was able to execute some pitches and work through it.”

Tillman had no explanation for his strong record against Seattle, the team that drafted him in 2006. He is 6-0 with an ERA of 2.03 against the Mariners in six career starts.

“I don’t know. Wish I could do that every time,” he said. “It’s just another team now, I think. We had a good game plan. I go out with the same mindset every start.”

Tillman and Markakis were co-stars today, but Tillman took a moment to note that Markakis reached 1,500 hits and talk about what he means to this team.

“Everything,” Tillman said. “He’s impressive. What he comes to the field with every day is impressive. He’s no doubt the leader on this team. We all respect him tremendously. I don’t know what this team would be without him. He’s that solid, he really is.”

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