BALTIMORE – Most of the evening belonged to Nick Markakis. But, in the end it was Matt Wieters who won the night.
Markakis enjoyed a great ovation in his return to Baltimore with the Atlanta Braves, and he was the usual pesky hitter, going deep into counts, and giving some offensive life to his team.
There was only so much Markakis could do, and Wieters finally hit a game-ending home run in the 11th inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 win over the Braves before 26,256 at Oriole Park on Monday night.
The evening began with Markakis receiving a long standing ovation from the fans. Kevin Gausman stepped off the mound and let the cheering continue.
“I was pretty proud of how everybody responded to him. It was one of those things where we were all in the dugout wanting to applaud too, but you kind of did it with your heart and not your hands,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Markakis went 2-for-5 with a first inning double and an eighth inning single, but he could only watch when Wieters led off the 11th with a home run to right-center field on a 1-0 pitch from Luis Avilan (2-4), the fifth pitcher for the Braves (46-53).
It was Wieters’ fourth game-ending home run of his career.
“It won’t ever get old. It’s a great feeling, to put a good swing on the ball at a time when you need it. It’s a good feeling. You’ll never get tired of it,” Wieters said.
The Orioles (49-49) have won three straight and are at .500 for the 14th time this season, tied for third most in club history.
Brad Brach (4-2) pitched a scoreless 11th for the win.
The Orioles (49-49) have won three straight.
“Right now being where we are, cherishing a win is big, to be able to keep piling up wins, and keep piling up wins because that’s what we need to do. It’s nice to get a win, but any win is a nice win,” Wieters said.
Kevin Gausman pitched 7 2/3 innings, the longest of his career. Gausman allowed six hits.
He had retired nine straight until Markakis singled with two outs in the eighth. Cameron Maybin dumped a single to right, sending Markakis to third.
Gausman exited to as loud an ovation as Markakis elicited two hours before.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there. You get through the fifth scoreless, I think that's when your confidence starts to get up. Me and [Wieters], we were on the same page the whole game,” Gausman said.
Brian Matusz struck out Freddie Freeman to keep the game scoreless.
Braves starter Alex Wood allowed just three hits to the Orioles in 7 1/3 innings.
In the ninth, Zach Britton struck out A.J. Pierzynski and then Adonis Garcia hit his second home run of the season to right field, giving Atlanta a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta called on its closer, Jim Johnson for the bottom of the ninth.
Adam Jones began the inning with an infield single. Wieters singled to center, and Jones reached third. Jones scored on J.J. Hardy’s sacrifice fly. Travis Snider lined to right and Lough struck out to send the game into extra innings.
The Orioles, most of whom played with Markakis, remember him fondly, and they liked hearing the crowd’s reaction.
“It was cool to see the ovation. I knew Orioles fans were going to give him a great ovation, and I know he appreciated it. Nick does like he always does. He answered it when the time was [right],” Wieters said.
Gausman is getting to be an expert at these special occasions, as the starter for Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium, and the guy who began Markakis’ career as a visitor.
He let the moment breathe.
“That's just one of those things, you've just got to feel out the situation. Anybody would have,” Gausman said. “What he did for this team, for the city. I think it's funny that he was still playing right here. Just kind of weird, kind of different seeing him in a different uniform. But obviously we all love him and respect him. Just one of those guys that did everything the right way. He made it pretty easy."
Markakis was always one of Showalter’s favorites.
“We miss him,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Gausman is winless in his last 12 starts. …Hardy has a 10-game hitting streak. … In Sunday’s game, Tommy Hunter was incorrectly charged with a wild pitch. Runners were on first and second, and Caleb Joseph threw out James Loney attempting to advance to second. The runner on third advanced on a fielder’s choice. … Julio Teheran (6-5, 4.49) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6, 3.81) on Tuesday night.