Nick Markakis Made First Appearance in MLB All-Star Game after 13 Seasons 

FILE - In this June 30, 2018, file photo, Atlanta Braves' Nick Markakis follows through on a grand slam during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. Markakis kept saying he would rather have a four-day break with his family than be named an All-Star. Actually receiving his first All-Star selection changed all that. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

WASHINGTON, DC – Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis was on the starting lineup for the National League in Major League Baseball’s All-Star game on July 17. It was the first appearance for Markakis in the All-Star game after 13 seasons in the majors.

Though he had a relatively quiet game, with a fly out to left in his first at-bat and then drawing a walk in his next, the Greek-American ballplayer told Fox Sports that it was a “great experience and something I won’t forget.”

He leads the NL with 108 hits this season. On Twitter, MLB Stat of the Day posted, “It’s been a long time coming for Nick Markakis,” referring to the fact that he tops the list for most games played before selection to the All-Star game with 1,928.

Markakis won a silver medal with Team Greece in the European National Championships in 2003 and played for the Greek Olympic baseball team at the Athens Olympics in 2004.[Text Wrapping Break]The lineups for the midsummer classic were announced on July 8. Also among the All-Star players, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and Mookie Betts in the outfield for the American League, and Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer for the NL, the Associated Press reported.[Text Wrapping Break]Harper was in his usual spot at his home ballpark in Washington, while Trout is work- ing on perhaps the best season of his stellar career with the Los Angeles Angels. Judge has 25 homers and 58 RBIs for the New York Yankees, and Betts is batting .342 with 22 homers for the major league-leading Boston Red Sox.

Markakis and Matt Kemp will join Harper in the NL outfield. Markakis has been a key performer for the surprising Atlanta Braves this year. Kemp’s return to the Los Angeles Dodgers has been a smashing success.

Second baseman and reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve led the fan balloting with 4.8 million votes. Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado made the short trip down to D.C. for the July 17 game with speculation about his future ahead of the trade deadline which was confirmed on July 18 as he heads to the Dodgers.

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez and Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos rounded out the AL’s starting lineup.

Harper was voted a starter for the fourth straight year. The slugger, who is eligible for free agency after this season, is batting just .218 for the disappointing Nationals, but he has 21 homers and 50 RBIs.

The game had a record 10 home runs combined this year and a dramatic ending. In the bottom of the 9th with the AL winning 5-2, Cubs second baseman Scooter Gennett’s 3-run shot tied things up sending the game to extra innings. In the 10th, Astros Alex Bregman and George Springer hit back-to-back home runs off Ross Stripling to put the AL up 8-5. The Reds’ Joey Votto added a solo home run in the bottom of the 10th, but the AL held out for the win, 8-6. Bregman was named MVP.

(Material from the AP was used in this report).