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Markakis fills void in Orioles' win

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Nick Markakis certainly did his share to help the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

The longtime right fielder moved to first base to fill in for injured Chris Davis and had two RBI hits. The second was a single that came with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning and gave the Orioles a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Camden Yards.

Markakis played his fourth career game at first base, a move that manager Buck Showalter made when holding Davis out of the lineup because of an oblique strain. The Orioles (12-11) confirmed after the game that Davis will likely go on the disabled list Sunday and so they turned to Markakis for help.

"It was an interesting day," Markakis said. "Long day. Get to the ballpark. 'Hey, you are playing first base.' All right, strap it up and let's go."

That is what Markakis did, especially in the 10th. Jonathan Schoop reached when pitcher Danny Duffy (1-1) hit him to start the inning. Duffy then made consecutive throwing errors on bunts from David Lough and Jemile Weeks, loading the bases with no outs.

Louis Coleman came on to pitch and, one out later, Markakis sliced a single just inside the left-field line to bring in Schoop with the winning run.

In addition, Markakis recorded 12 putouts in a flawless performance at first base.

"Nicky's just ... what the team needs," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He doesn't bat an eye. There's a lot of Gold Glove right fielders (that) would've broke out in hives if you'd ask them to come play first base."

But Duffy's fielding problems were what hurt the Royals.

"I can't take it back," Duffy said. "But I just feel terrible right now because the team played their butts off today. I came in for a blink of an eyelid, and I just wasn't sharp and it wound up costing us the game."

It proved more painful for Kansas City (11-12) because the Royals rallied from a 2-0 first-inning deficit to tie the score and force extra innings. They got runs in the third and sixth and both teams wasted some good scoring chances to set up the 10th.

Former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie gave the Royals a good start with seven solid innings. He allowed two runs and two hits in the first and only four hits in the final six innings, leaving with a no-decision as the score was tied at two.

Guthrie matched Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen, who also gave up two runs in his seven-inning effort. Chen posted season highs in innings and strikeouts (six) and scattered nine hits.

"We did a nice job of getting back in that game after Guthrie gave up two runs in the first," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He settled down unbelievably. I thought Guthrie and Chen both pitched great."

Left-hander Zach Britton (3-0) picked up the win after getting the final out of the top of the 10th. At first, though, the Orioles did not look as if they would need extra time.

The Orioles recalled Jemile Weeks from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day and he started a two-run rally in the first. Weeks battled Guthrie through a nine-pitch at-bat before lining a single to open the inning.

Weeks then moved to second when Cruz followed with a walk and scored when Markakis singled. Adam Jones grounded into a force play and brought in Cruz.

The Royals cut the lead to 2-1 on Eric Hosmer's RBI double in the third. Kansas City got three hits in that inning but scored just that one run and left the bases loaded against Chen.

Weeks sparked Baltimore's next rally with a two-out triple in the fifth, but Guthrie then escaped by striking out Cruz and keeping the score at 2-1. The Royals then tied it on Justin Maxwell's bloop single to center in the sixth.

NOTES: While Jemile eeks was called up, LHP T.J. McFarland was demoted after Friday's loss against the Royals. The Orioles obtained Weeks from the Oakland A's in the deal for closer RHP Jim Johnson, and this was his first game with Baltimore. ... OF Nick Markakis moved to first base for just the fourth time in his career as 1B Chris Davis remained out with a left oblique strain. Markakis last started at first on Sept. 4, 2011, at Tampa Bay. ... The shutout that RHP Yordano Ventura and RHP Greg Holland combined on Friday night was the first the Royals have posted at Camden Yards in nearly 10 years. ... This was Guthrie's third career start against the Orioles. He pitched for them from 2007 to 2011.
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