BALTIMORE (AP) -- Nick Markakis had just hit his third home run, and the crowd at Camden Yards stood in appreciation, demanding a curtain call.
With his three home runs Tuesday, Nick Markakis has hit six over the Orioles' last six games. Only seven other rookies in major league history have hit six homers over six team games, most recently David Justice in 1990 and Mark McGwire in 1987.
Markakis was in the process of putting his helmet in the rack when hitting coach Terry Crowley shoved the rookie toward the top of the dugout stairs. Markakis waved his helmet to the fans, who yelled even louder before sitting down in anticipation of his next
at-bat.There would be no fourth home run, but Markakis did more than enough to carry the Baltimore Orioles past the Minnesota Twins 6-3 on Tuesday night.Markakis homered in the first, third and fifth innings off Carlos Silva (8-11). Seeking to become the 16th player in major-league history to hit four in a game, he hit a short fly ball to left in the sixth against Willie Eyre."I was thinking the same thing as the other at-bats, like Terry Crowley tells me to do all the time, to just put a good swing on the ball," Markakis said. "I was just sitting on a fastball. I hit it pretty good; I just got under it a little bit."Markakis was left standing in the on-deck circle at the conclusion of the Baltimore eighth but expressed no disappointment."Not at all. We came on out on top, we played great as a team. What else could you ask for?" he said.It was the first multihomer game for Markakis, who became the 18th Oriole to hit three in a game -- the first since Albert Belle in July 1999. Since moving to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Markakis has six homers in six games."I wonder why I didn't put him in the 2-hole sooner," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.
Players who have hit three or more homers in a game this season
Nick Markakis, Baltimore
Aug. 22 vs. Minnesota
Jose Reyes, N.Y. Mets
Aug. 15 at Philadelphia
Chipper Jones, Atlanta
Aug. 14 at Washington
Mark Teixeira, Texas
July 13 at Baltimore
Damion Easley, Arizona,
June 3 at Atlanta
Vernon Wells, Toronto
May 30 vs. Boston
Alfonso Soriano, Washington
April 21 vs. Atlanta
Albert Pujols, St. Louis
April 16 vs. Cincinnati
Markakis now has 11 home runs this year, and his 3-for-4 performance raised his batting average to .306."I don't know if he's the guy who ran for president -- Dukakis? -- but he killed us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He probably could win some votes for president right now. Three home runs. We talked about changing out strategy for the third at-bat
and he hit another homer. We couldn't get him out."Brian Roberts and Corey Patterson also connected off Silva, who allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He has yielded 30 homers this season.Adam Loewen (4-4) gave up singles to four of the first six batters and then got 21 straight outs before being removed after eight innings and 108 pitches. The rookie left-hander struck out seven and walked none."The young man pitched fantastic. He was filthy," Gardenhire said. "We had a very hard time with him. I think that was pretty much the story: Their pitcher went out there and [had] pretty much one of the better performances we've seen against us."After going winless in his first nine appearances, Loewen has won four of his last six starts. The eight innings was the longest of his brief career."I was just feeling confident in all my pitches today," he said. "Early on I didn't have that fastball command, then I made a couple adjustments so where I could put the ball where I wanted."Minnesota got a pair of runs in the ninth off LaTroy Hawkins, and Chris Ray got the final out for his 29th save in 31 chances.The loss ruined Minnesota's bid to gain ground in the wild-card race. The Twins started the day a half-game behind the Chicago White Sox and four games ahead of the Boston Red Sox.Baltimore used a three-run third to take a 4-1 lead. Roberts led off with his seventh homer, and two pitches later Markakis homered to right. One out later, Miguel Tejada singled and Jay Gibbons followed with an RBI double.Markakis homered to right-center in the fifth on a 2-0 pitch against Silva, who ran out of options in his bid to get the rookie out."How much did I know about him? The only thing I know is he knows how to hit home runs," Silva said.Patterson connected in the sixth to make it 6-1.Markakis gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead by hitting Silva's second pitch over the center-field wall, an estimated 430 feet from the plate.In the second inning, Minnesota's Justin Morneau singled, stole second and scored on a grounder by Lew Ford. That was the extent of the Twins' success against Loewen, who never before had an
appearance in which he didn't issue at least one walk.
Roberts has hit in 11 straight games. ... Markakis joined Eddie Murray and Bobby Grich as Orioles who have hit three homers
in a game vs Minnesota. ... The Twins' Torii Hunter got his career 1,000th hit in the second inning.