BALTIMORE -- Nate McLouth stepped in to bat leadoff Sunday, with Nick Markakis out due to a broken left thumb.
McLouth has been a big spark to the Orioles since the team selected him from Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 4. After struggling for the past few years with a few different teams, McLouth was hitting .273 with two homers and 12 RBIs entering Sunday's action.
He's also given Baltimore stellar defensive work in left field and helped the Orioles make the second-half run that wiped out New York's 10-game lead from earlier this summer. The two teams were tied for first place in the American League East before the series finale.
McLouth has often batted third for the Orioles so far and come up with a number of good hits. But batting leadoff is different, and he said he's fine with it.
"I like hitting leadoff," McLouth said. "I like hitting anywhere, to be honest with you. But [I'll] stay like I have been and keep that same approach."
McLouth will likely see some time batting leadoff while Markakis is out, since he's one of the best fits for the spot.
Surgery for Markakis, may cut return to 4 weeks
BALTIMORE -- Nick Markakis will have surgery on Tuesday in Florida to repair the left thumb he fractured in Saturday's game against the Yankees, a procedure he's hopeful will speed up his recovery process.
The original thought was that it could be a six-week recovery period, which would leave Markakis a very small window to return to the team this year, most likely if the Orioles made it deep into the playoffs. Surgery was thought to be something which could finish the season.
But this surgery won't end his season. In fact, it could give him a chance to come back earlier if everything works out.
"They said the surgery should actually knock three weeks off recovery, so hopefully we are looking at somewhere around four weeks," Markakis said after Sunday's game. "It is good news and bad news. I'm just going to go ahead and get it done and just get it out of the way."
Markakis said the surgery, scheduled to be performed by Dr. Brian Schofield, the same person who handled the operation on his wrist back in June, will involve putting a T-plate on top of the thumb, screwing it down and waiting for everything to heal."
The outfielder said that the playoffs -- if the Orioles get in -- remain a possibility for him, and the big question is how long it takes for everything to heal.
"It's just the healing process; it's just like with my hand," Markakis said. "It's a [broken] bone. There's no rehab process for it. Hopefully my body can recover quickly and hopefully I can make a run towards the end with these guys."
Davis takes over for Markakis in right field
BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis moved back to right field Sunday, taking over for the injured Nick Markakis.
Davis can play the corner positions, left or right field, first or third base. He played a lot at first base (38 games) earlier this year before manager Buck Showalter shifted Mark Reynolds from third to first, a move that's paid off.
This season, Davis has made 15 starts in right field, 11 in left and 51 at DH. But he said he'll be fine in the outfield.
"It's something that I was doing earlier this year when Nicky was hurt," he said. "I think it's something everybody's comfortable with, the fact that I've been out there this year and have played some games there."
Davis said that he's just going to do the best he can and help the Orioles keep rolling.
"Nobody's going to feel sorry for us," Davis said. "I'm in no way trying to fill his shoes."
Orioles fans gave home-plate umpire Jerry Meals a loud cheer when the umpire's names were announced before Sunday's game. Meals made the controversial call on the Mark Teixeira double-play grounder that ended Saturday's 5-4 Baltimore victory. Meals called Teixeira out at first when replays showed him as being safe. If Meals had called him safe, the game would have been tied.
Wilson Betemit moved into the No. 3 spot in the lineup as the DH for Sunday's game as Showalter shifted the lineup around to compensate for the loss of Markakis.
If the Orioles win on Sunday, they would capture the season series, 10-8. That would be the first time Baltimore has beaten New York in the season series since 1997.
The Orioles now have homered three times in three straight games, the first time in franchise history they've done that while playing New York.
Working the broadcast for Sunday's finale for TSN, Cal Ripken drew a roar from the crowd when he was shown on the video scoreboard in the third inning.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.