Nick Markakis was one of the first Major League Baseball players to decide to opt out of the season over fears of contracting the coronavirus in the midst of a global pandemic.
The Atlanta Braves outfielder would eventually reconsider his decision and return for his sixth season with the team. In his second game of 2020, Markakis proved his worth.
He delivered a walk-off home run Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays to give the Braves the 4-3 victory. He hit the homer off Blue Jays pitcher Wilmer Font.
“To me, we really shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Markakis said after the game. “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.”
The veteran announced last week he would return to the team nearly a month after choosing to opt out.
“It was a little weird but that’s the situation we’re in,” Markakis said. “We’re still out here playing the game. We’re still playing for everybody. We’re still playing for the fans.”
The 36-year-old played in 116 games last year for the Braves. He hit nine home runs and recorded a .285 batting average to go along with a .776 OPS.
Atlanta improved to 9-5 with the win. Toronto fell to 4-6.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.