Leadoff hitters Nick Markakis and Denard Span are two of the big reasons the Orioles and Nationals boast the largest division leads in the American League and National League, respectively.
Markakis, who has a 10-game hit streak and has reached base in 17 consecutive games, is batting .297 with a .362 on-base percentage for Baltimore. Span, Washington’s best player since July, recently had his streak of 36 games reaching base snapped and is hitting .303 with a .355 on-base percentage.
Both outfielders can play a little defense, too. Markakis showed off his bat and his glove in the Orioles’ 8-2 win over the White Sox on Monday, robbing Conor Gillaspie of a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh of a 3-2 game and then hitting a two-run home run of his own as part of the Orioles’ five-run eighth.
“Adrenaline’s going there, so it didn’t feel good,” Markakis told the Baltimore Sun of his catch. “It felt good to catch the ball, so that’s all that matters.”
“The game Markakis had, are you kidding me?” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “Really?”