The Closer: Markakis For President

Notes from a day in baseball:

1. You Might Just Make It After All .... How fickle are we baseball fans? Just a short while ago it was Joe Mauer over whom we all fawned, but now it's a Baltimore rookie named Nick Markakis who is our flavor of the month. That's because all he did on Tuesday was belt three home runs — becoming the 18th Oriole to do so, and first since Albert Belle in 1999 — in Baltimore's 6-3 win over Minnesota. He flew out in his fourth at-bat (16 players in major league history have hit four in one game) and was left on-deck as the Orioles made their final out of the game. Since moving to No. 2 in the lineup, Markakis has six homers in six games. But hey, we still love Joe Mauer as well.

2. It Goes To 11. The Seattle Mariners found the key to breaking their losing streak: free laundry. Fans waved towels at Safeco on Tuesday, and Adrian Beltre responded with two home runs to lead the Ms past the Yankees 6-5, breaking Seattle's 11-game losing streak.

3. Now You've Dunn It. The Reds are only one game behind the Cardinals for the top spot in the NL Central, as Adam Dunn's three-run homer highlighted an eight-run third, Cincinnati bludgeoning Houston 14-0.

4. Walky Big Papi. Mike Scioscia decided to walk David Ortiz with a runner at second in the ninth ... and that brought up Kevin Youkilis, who flied out to end the game as the Angels beat the Red Sox 4-3. To us, walking someone named Big Papi to get to someone named Kevin always seems like a good idea.

5. OK, We're Calling It For The Tigers. Even the over-40 set are beating the White Sox these days, as Kenny Rogers shut down Chicago in a 4-0 victory, giving the Tigers a 7 1/2 game lead in the AL Central.