Braves' Markakis hits walkoff HR after opting into season

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Atlanta Braves' Nick Markakis, left, celebrates with Adeiny Hechavarria (24) after hitting a game-winning home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA – Nick Markakis promised before Thursday night's game that hitting was “the least of my worries” in his first start of the season.

He then showed why.

Markakis capped his dramatic return with a game-ending home run in the ninth inning that lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was the first hit of the game for Markakis, who said he was upset about failing in previous attempts to drive in a run.

“To me, we really shouldn’t have been in that situation,” said the 36-year-old Markakis. “I had a couple chances to push a run across there and we didn’t. That’s the beauty of this game. You always get another opportunity.”

Markakis announced his return one week ago, three weeks after opting out due to coronavirus concerns, Markakis lined the one-out homer off Wilmer Font (0-1) that carried into the restaurant behind the right-field stands.

Markakis was added to the active roster on Wednesday after changing his mind about sitting out the year.

Following the homer, Braves players circled home plate with plenty of distance, waving their hands in the air as Markakis finished his trot.