Nick Markakis kept saying he’d rather have a four-day break with his family than be named an All-Star.
Actually receiving his first All-Star selection changed all that. Suddenly he realized he’ll relish the time with his wife and three sons at a setting where he’ll be recognized as one of the game’s biggest stars.
”Yeah [url=http://www.vikingscheapstore.com/latavius-murray-jersey-cheap]Latavius Murray Jersey[/url] , it’s one of those feelings that you’ve never felt before,” Markakis said. ”It’s definitely special, especially with my kids being old enough to be able to share it and remember it.”
Markakis, 34, collected 2,165 hits and two Gold Gloves in 13 seasons, including nine with Baltimore, before finally breaking through for his first All-Star selection in his fourth season with Atlanta.
His breakthrough left no room for doubt. After so many years of being an also-ran in the voting, Markakis led all National League outfielders with 3,556,469 votes.
”It’s going to be exciting,” Markakis said. ”It’s going to be a fun couple of days up there. I’m excited to share it with my kids and share it with my teammates who are coming along with me.”
Juan Pierre, who had 2 [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/barkevious-mingo-jersey-cheap]Barkevious Mingo Jersey[/url] ,217 hits for six teams in his 14-year career that ended in 2013, is the only player with more hits than Markakis who was never named an All-Star.
Those who have been around Markakis the longest had the loudest cheers for the selection many said was long overdue.
”One of the happiest moments of my big league career was giving him that All-Star envelope,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones used his Twitter account to say the All-Star honor was long overdue.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter enjoyed seeing his former right fielder finally thrust into the spotlight.
”I can’t imagine anyone having a more All-Star worthy season than Nick Markakis,” Showalter said when the Orioles visited Atlanta in late June. ”There is such a self-pride there. Contracts don’t drive him. The only thing that drives him is winning.”
Showalter has a special appreciation for the role Markakis holds with a rebuilding Braves team that also features such young players as All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies, 21, and left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., 20.
”To try to put a young team together, to have a guy like Nick around is paramount,” Showalter said.
Markakis said he tries to provide a guide for younger players by sticking to a strict routine each day.
”I’ve got myself in a routine I do daily,” he said. ”I try to stay within that and not stray too far from it. Even when I was young I watched the older guys and how they prepared themselves with what they did. It rubbed off on me and now here I am today doing it and hopefully I can help my teammates and the younger guys.”
Even at 34, Markakis said he also can learn from the young rookies.
”I’m learning from them and hopefully they can learn from me, too,” he said. ”Just go about your business and do what you can to help a ballclub win every day.”
Markakis has helped the Braves lead the NL East for much of the season. He entered Friday night’s game against Arizona leading the NL with 116 hits and 38 multi-hit games and tied for the lead with 29 doubles. His .322 batting average ranked second in the league.
Markakis is having his best season [url=http://www.ravenscheapstores.com/orlando-brown-jr.-jersey-cheap]Orlando Brown Jr. Jersey[/url] , but he has been good for many years. He has a .289 career batting average, though his modest power numbers made it difficult for him to fare well in comparisons with the game’s top sluggers. Markakis has hit 20 or more homers in only two seasons, the last time in 2008 when he hit 20 with Baltimore. He has 10 homers with 60 RBIs.
In an era where all-or-nothing swings earn TV highlights and big contracts, there is still an appreciation for the skills Markakis brings as a disciplined hitter.
”I love the guy,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ”I saw him many years in Baltimore. I don’t think he probably gets the recognition he deserves. …. He’s still one of the top pure hitters in the game.”
Zach Eflin and the Phillies are on a roll.
Eflin pitched seven strong innings for his sixth straight victory, Andrew Knapp had the winning hit for the second straight game and Philadelphia beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on Tuesday night for its 11th win in 16 games.
Rhys Hoskins had a two-run double, rookie Seranthony Dominguez pitched four outs for his eighth save and Maikel Franco made a game-saving defensive play for the Phillies, who pulled within 2 1/2 games of the Braves for first place in the NL East.
”It was a great team win,” Eflin said.
Eflin (7-2) allowed two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and no walks to become the first Phillies pitcher since Cliff Lee in 2011 to record six consecutive wins. The right-hander has a 1.91 ERA while striking out 34 and walking six in 37 2/3 innings over that stretch.
”More aggressive and trusting my pitches,” Eflin said.
The Phillies bullpen preserved the win, but it got interesting.
Tommy Hunter got the first two outs of the eighth before manager Gabe Kapler went to Dominguez with Orioles star Manny Machado up.
”One of the best hitters in the game, you try to neutralize him with your best bullet,” Kapler said.
Dominguez walked Machado and Mark Trumbo to load the bases for Chris Davis. Franco made a stellar diving play to his right at third base to snare Davis’ ground ball before throwing him out at first to keep the Phillies ahead 3-2. The out was upheld after an Orioles challenge.
”Play of the game [url=http://www.packerscheapstore.com/lane-taylor-jersey-cheap]Lane Taylor Jersey[/url] ,” Kapler said. ”Got us the win.”
Franco, who has been in and out of the lineup this season, cherished the out.
”I just tried to make a good play and make a good throw,” he said. ”I wanted that play so bad.”
Trumbo homered for Baltimore, which has dropped eight of nine.
”The effort was there,” Trumbo said. ”The frustration, it’s as much as you make of it.”
The game was delayed 1 hour, 25 minutes due to rain and played mostly under a persistent drizzle.
Philadelphia took a one-run lead in the fourth on Knapp’s two-out triple to right off Alex Cobb (2-10) that scored Nick Williams. Knapp, Philadelphia’s backup catcher, started two days after his game-ending homer in the 13th lifted the Phillies over the Nationals 4-3.
Cobb gave up three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 6 2/3 innings.
Trumbo staked Baltimore to a 1-0 lead by crushing Eflin’s 94 mph fastball into the seats in left in the second.
Philadelphia went in front 2-1 in the third on Hoskins’ two-out double off the wall in left that scored Franco and Cesar Hernandez.
CHEERS FOR MANNY
Machado, speculated to be a target of the Phillies either via trade or free agency, was loudly cheered when he was introduced by PA announcer Dan Baker prior to the contest.
Eflin was pulled after just 82 pitches, and Kapler said that was partly because of a blister on Eflin’s right middle finger. Eflin said he was ready and able to continue if asked. Eflin was hampered consistently by blisters last season [url=http://www.chiefscheapstore.com/allen-bailey-jersey-cheap]Allen Bailey Jersey[/url] , but Tuesday was his first time dealing with one this year.
Orioles: OF Colby Rasmus has been placed on the restricted list after informing the club that he was leaving the team. Rasmus has struggled with a left hip injury for two seasons. He was hitting .133 with one homer in 18 games this season after signing a one-year, $3 million deal in the offseason. … INF Steve Wilkerson (left oblique) was placed on the 10-day DL. Wilkerson, who is 4 for 17 since making his debut June 20, was injured in Sunday’s 8-2 win over the Angels.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right lat strain) will throw live batting practice Wednesday. He has been out all season. … Reliever Edubray Ramos (right shoulder impingement), who has been on the DL since June 25, threw a bullpen Tuesday and could be activated on Friday.
Baltimore rookie RHP Yefry Ramirez (0-1, 2.89) will make his second start and third appearance with the Orioles against Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48) on Wednesday afternoon.
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