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Markakis surge has reached next level in May

The Braves managed only five hits Friday, but Nick Markakis had two of them, his third consecutive multi-hit game and eighth in the first 10 games in May, raising his hits total to a National League-leading 51 for the season before Saturday.

The veteran right fielder, who’s having a career power resurgence at 34, was 19-for-42 (.452) with four doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs and a .762 slugging percentage in 10 May games before Saturday, the highest batting average in the majors among players with at least 25 at-bats this month.

Markakis’ .345 batting average for the season ranked second-best in the NL before Saturday, his .420 on-base percentage was tied with teammate Freddie Freeman for ninth-highest in the majors, and his .974 OPS led the Braves and ranked Markakis 13th in the majors, two spots ahead of Freeman (.966). Ozzie Albies (.921) was 24th to give the Braves three of the top 25 OPS in the majors.

Markakis’ seven homers in 148 at-bats before Saturday were only one fewer home run than the 13-year veteran hit in 593 at-bats last season. He set his career high of 23 homers more than a decade ago in his second season with Baltimore, where he played his first nine seasons before signing a four-year, $44 million free-agent contract with the Braves before the 2015 season.

Another jaw-dropping stat for Markakis: His .400 average (20-for-50) against left-handed pitchers before Saturday. That was the seventh-best average in the majors and by far the highest mark among lefty hitters, 43 points ahead of the next-best by the Twins’ Max Kepler.

The Braves were to face another lefty Saturday night, Marlins rookie Jarlin Garcia.

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