ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Zach Britton already knows the dangers of walking batters, but he got another reminder today.
Britton opened the third inning by walking the last two hitters in the Rays lineup, Matt Joyce and Sam Fuld. Joyce scored with one out on Elliot Johnson’s safety squeeze bunt.
Joyce didn’t break for home until Johnson laid down the bunt, so it wasn’t a suicide squeeze.
Britton caught two breaks in the inning. B.J. Upton appeared to drop a single into right field after the two walks, but Nick Markakis got the force at second base after Fuld held up. Fuld thought the ball would be caught. So did the rest of us.
Wieters threw out Upton trying to steal third base, proving again that his value expands beyond the batter’s box.
Britton struck out Ben Zobrist to end the inning. He’s thrown first-pitch strikes to nine of the 12 batters he’s faced. Overall, he’s thrown 50 pitches, 29 for strikes.