McLouth ascends to top of Birds' lineup

McLouth ascends to top of Birds' lineup

McLouth ascends to top of Birds' lineup
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.