Britton better today at Norfolk (Machado and Schoop homer)

Left-hander Zach Britton turned in his finest start today at Triple-A Norfolk, holding Buffalo to two runs in six innings before Zach Phillips replaced him in the seventh.

Britton allowed both runs in the second inning. He surrendered three hits, walked two, struck out five, threw a wild pitch and committed an error. He threw 90 pitches, 56 for strikes.

Britton retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced and allowed just five balls out of the infield.

In his previous start, Britton allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings against Toledo. In four starts with Norfolk, he’s permitted 14 runs and 25 hits over 21 2/3 innings, with six walks and 12 strikeouts.

The Orioles still need Britton’s command to improve and his breaking ball to sharpen before they’ll consider recalling him.

Lew Ford has two more hits today for the Tides, raising his average to .386 with 22 RBIs in 30 games since the Orioles signed him out of the independent Atlantic League.

NOTE: Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop each hit their fourth home run today in Double-A Bowie’s 8-5 win over Erie.

Machado, chosen today to participate in the All-Star Futures Game, went 3-for-4 and is batting .249 - the same average as Schoop.

Baysox closer Greg Burke recorded his 14th save with two perfect innings.

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