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Former Oriole Nick Markakis surges to lead among NL outfielders in All-Star voting

Former Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis has moved closer to securing his first All-Star appearance — and start.

Riding the Atlanta Braves’ rise to the top of the National League East, Markakis has surpassed Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the latest NL voting results released Monday.

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The 2018 MLB All-Star Game will be played at Nationals Park on July 17.

Markakis, who played nine seasons with the Orioles before leaving after 2014, has 1,173,653 votes. Harper is second among outfielders with 1,002,696 while Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers is third with 925,697. Markakis has about a 500,000-vote lead over Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies, who is in fourth.

The Orioles’ first-round draft pick in 2003, Markakis has never played in All-Star game during his 13-year career. His career numbers with the Orioles include a .290 batting average with 141 home runs and 658 RBIs. He also won two Gold Gloves for his play in right field.

He signed with the Braves as a free agent in Devember 2014. The 34-year-old Markakis is batting .327 this season — a career high — and the Braves are 42-29 in the NL East, leading by 3½ games.

Two Braves teammates could join him in the starting lineup. Freddie Freeman, a first baseman, leads all NL players with 1,433,140 votes. Ozzie Albies also leads at second base.

Fans can vote for starters at MLB.com and all 30 team websites using the 2018 MLB All-Star ballot until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can also access the ballot on smartphones and tablets via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period and a maximum of 35 times.

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