It takes a lot to force Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis from a game. He's played the past few days with a deep purple bruise on his left bicep from taking a pitch there last week in Toronto.

When he was recovering from surgery on his right wrist, manager Buck Showalter's toughest task was making sure Markakis didn't sneak off and start swinging a bat prematurely before the stiches from his surgery healed.

So when Markakis walked off the field just moments after taking a 92-mph fastball to his left hand, the Orioles dugout knew something was wrong.

On a night when the Orioles regained a share of first-place in the American League East with a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees in front of a sellout crowd at Camden Yards, the mood in the home clubhouse was somber.

After suffering a broken left thumb, Markakis — who has been one of the lifelines of the Orioles' second-half surge — will miss the rest of the regular season, a major punch-to-the-gut to the Orioles playoff hopes.

Not only is Markakis a Gold Glove outfielder, but he revived the Orioles offense once he returned from wrist surgery and took over the leadoff spot. His 73 hits since the All-Star break are second-most in the AL, and his post-break .335 average and .390 on-base percentage are major reasons why the Orioles are in the playoff hunt. The Orioles are 33-21 since Markakis took over the leadoff spot.

But after Saturday's win — one which encompassed the Orioles' season-long resilience — Orioles manager Buck Showalter's only optimism when it came to Markakis was the hope that he might be able to rejoin the Orioles if they played deep into the postseason.