Braves' Nick Markakis hits walk-off HR after opting back into season

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.

Markakis lined the one-out homer off Wilmer Font (0-1) that carried into the restaurant behind the right-field stands. 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," the 36-year-old Markakis said. "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. He was added to the active roster on Wednesday after changing his mind about sitting out the season.

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

"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."

Manager Brian Snitker said he is not surprised Markakis came back swinging.

"That guy is going to look like that probably at 60 and be able to hit still," Snitker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report