Markakis Goes On Defensive

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 19, 2008

BALTIMORE, May 18 -- Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis put on a defensive display during his team's 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday. Markakis moved into the American League lead in outfield assists, throwing out two runners and also making a running catch against the right field wall.

Perhaps the most impressive play came in the seventh inning.

With Elijah Dukes at second base, Nationals catcher Wil Nieves fought off a pitch that got just past second baseman Brian Roberts's leaping attempt. The ball caught a piece of Roberts's glove, enough to slow the ball down and lessen the chances that Markakis would throw Dukes out trying to score from second.

But Markakis uncorked a hard, low throw, nailing Dukes as he slid feet-first into the plate, where Orioles catcher Guillermo Quiroz applied the tag.

"I knew it was a tight ballgame and it was close and I had to try to cut down that run any way I could. I was playing in a little bit, I didn't assume Brian was going to catch the ball," said Markakis, whose seven assists lead the AL. "So I was charging the whole time and made an accurate throw and ended up getting him."

Markakis collected another assist when he doubled up Dukes in the ninth. He also robbed Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman of a hit.

Cintrón's Inconsistency

Orioles backup shortstop Alex Cintrón earned his second straight start on Sunday, though the results weren't as good this time around. After going 4 for 4 on Saturday against the Nationals, Cintrón went 0 for 2 before Luke Scott pinch-hit for him in the eighth.

"When a guy gets four hits last night, let's put him back out there," Orioles Manager Dave Trembley said before the game. "It's real simple, that's it." . . .

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed just one run in seven innings, which statistically ranks as one of his best performances of the season. But Guthrie said after the game that he has felt sharper in other starts this season.

"It was hard," Guthrie said. "But they got themselves out a lot more than I think I made a pitch to get them out." . . .

Trembley said veteran right-hander Steve Trachsel won't start until the Orioles series at Tampa Bay next week.

UP NEXT Tomorrow at Yankees7:05 p.m. Cabrera (4-1) vs. Mussina (6-3) MASN Wednesday at Yankees7:05 p.m. Olson (3-0) vs. Rasner (2-0) MASN UP NEXT Tomorrow at Yankees7:05 p.m. Cabrera (4-1) vs. Mussina (6-3) MASN Wednesday at Yankees7:05 p.m. Olson (3-0) vs. Rasner (2-0) MASN

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