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Markakis singles in game-winner as Orioles beat Royals

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The Canadian Press
4/26/2014 10:35:28 PM
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BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles traditionally thrust a pie in the face of a successful teammate while he's being interviewed after a game at Camden Yards, and Nick Markakis was poised to be the recipient.

On Saturday night, however, his teammates thought Markakis deserved better. He had played out of position for the sake of the team and singled in the winning run in the 10th inning after two throwing errors by pitcher Danny Duffy laid the groundwork for a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

So J.J. Hardy handed Markakis the pie and a fork, and he happily took a bite.

Markakis, a Gold Glove right fielder, played first base for the first time since 2011. He was there because slugger Chris Davis was sidelined with a strained left oblique, an injury that will put the major league's reigning home run king on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.

Not only did Markakis play the position flawlessly, but he drove in two runs and ended the game with a deft opposite-field single to left.

"It was an interesting day. Long day," Markakis said. "Get to the ballpark, 'Hey, you are playing first base.' All right, strap it up and let's go. It's always fun. It's a different view of the game, a different look. It definitely goes a lot quicker in the infield than the outfield."

The Orioles went eight straight innings without scoring before facing Duffy, who had pitched 8 1-3 scoreless innings on the season.

After Duffy (1-1) hit Jonathan Schoop to begin the 10th, the left-hander threw wildly to second base after fielding a bunt by David Lough. Jemile Weeks followed with another bunt, and on this one Duffy's throw went high and wide to first, loading the bases.

"The boys battled their butts off all game and I came in and just wasn't sharp," Duffy said. "I got ahead of the first guy. I tried to go up-and-in on him. I thought it was a good pitch and the ball got away from me. Pitcher's fielding practice, man. It's a simple game and I just wasn't sharp. I didn't do my job tonight."

Louis Coleman replaced Duffy and struck out Nelson Cruz before Markakis delivered the game-winner.

Zach Britton (3-0), the sixth Baltimore pitcher, struck out Jarrod Dyson with two outs and a runner on second in the top of the 10th.

Kansas City fell to 0-12 when failing to score at least four runs. The Royals -- who stranded 11 and went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position -- are 11-0 when scoring four or more runs.

Knowing they would be without Davis, the Orioles recalled Weeks from Triple-A Norfolk to provide an extra bat. Markakis, meanwhile, played his fourth career game at first base.

"He didn't bat an eye," manager Buck Showalter said. "He looks at it as a way to make a contribution. There's a lot of Gold Glove right fielders who would have broke out in hives if you asked them to play first base."

Jeremy Guthrie started for Kansas City and gave up two runs before getting two outs, and then blanked his former team over the next six innings before leaving with the game tied. The right-hander finished up by getting David Lough to hit into a double play with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh.

"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. He did a great job of pitching out of a jam in the seventh inning."

Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs, nine hits and two walks over a season-high seven innings. The left-hander ended his outing with his sixth strikeout, against Alex Gordon with two on and two outs.

The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the first. Weeks hit a leadoff single in his first at-bat with Baltimore, Cruz walked and Markakis delivered an RBI single before Adam Jones drove in a run by hitting into a fielder's choice.

The Royals used doubles by Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer to get a run in the third. Chen avoided further damage by retiring Gordon on a grounder with the bases loaded and two outs.

After Weeks tripled with two outs in the fifth and Cruz looked at a third strike, Kansas City pulled even in the sixth. Gordon singled and Danny Valencia beat out a chopper to third before Justin Maxwell blooped a two-out RBI single to centre.

NOTES: Orioles C Matt Wieters went hitless after getting at least two hits in four straight games. ... Miguel Gonzalez will pitch for the Orioles in Sunday's series finale against James Shields, who's 9-7 in 24 career starts against Baltimore. ... Guthrie is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles. ... Escobar hurt his knee in the 10th inning on Schoop's slide into second base, but he stayed in the game and Yost said, "I think he's going to be all right."

Nick Markakis  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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