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Nick Markakis has collected two more hits tonight while batting second in the order.

"He's been great," manager Sam Perlozzo said before the game. "Looking back at it, I think we've probably done everything we could do to take the right steps for the young kid's development. He's growing into the player we saw in the spring. The good thing is, next year, I think he's going to be even better because he'll know the league, he will have seen everybody.

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"He's been great, especially recently. He's driving the ball now. We said his power would probably come a little bit later. He's going to be good."

Perlozzo said he notified team executives Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette that he was considering moving up Markakis, who batted eighth 19 times and ninth 63 times. "We were trying to find some kind of time that we thought might be best. I thought New York might not be the best place, but I went home that night after we got beat and slept on it and thought, 'What the heck. Why not?' And so far, he's been great.

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"I don't think it bothers him. He just goes up and he hits. He's a pretty mature kid."

Speaking of hitting, Melvin Mora has contributed a two-run homer and two-run single to the Orioles' 6-0 lead.

The Orioles had nine hits off Blue Jays starter Scott Downs in 1 1/3 innings. Manager John Gibbons came out of the dugout to make a pitching change, and I thought Perlozzo might try to tackle him before he reached the mound.

This will be reliever Davis Romero's major league debut.

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