Britton scuffling again tonight (O’s take the lead)

Left-hander Zach Britton has allowed three runs and five hits in two innings against Triple-A Toledo.

Britton posted a 0.75 ERA in two rehab starts at Double-A Bowie, but he’s gone 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in his first two starts at Norfolk covering 10 2/3 innings. He’s allowed seven runs and 14 hits, walked four and struck out four.

In his most recent outing, he gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings in Buffalo after the Orioles removed him from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Norfolk.

Britton told me earlier this week that his stuff has been better in Triple-A than it was with Bowie, but the results don’t reflect it.

The Orioles have no plans to bring up Britton anytime soon. They need his command to improve and for him to dominate at that level.

The Tides’ rotation currently consists of Britton, Jamie Moyer, Chris Tillman, Jason Berken and Miguel Gonzalez. No Brad Bergesen and no Steve Johnson, who also isn’t listed among the upcoming starters.

The Orioles were nine up, nine down over the first three innings in Atlanta. Four of them went down on strikes against Brandon Beachy.

Update: Beachy retired the first 11 Orioles, walked Chris Davis with two outs in the fourth inning and motioned for catcher Brian McCann to come to the mound. Beachy left the game with an apparent injury, which is a huge break for the Orioles. He had no-hit stuff tonight.

Nick Markakis wore a mic in the dugout bottom of the third inning for the FOX broadcast.

Former Oriole Bill Ripken, handling the analyst duties for FOX, asked Markakis whether he’s swung a bat since undergoing wrist surgery.

“With permission or without permission?” Markakis replied.

Good one.

Markakis said he’s picked up the bat, but he hasn’t taken any swings yet. We’ll have to believe him.

Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Atlanta that Markakis could be cleared to begin baseball activities on Friday. Markakis will have to go on an injury-rehab assignment before being activated.

Update II: Mark Reynolds delivered the Orioles’ first hit with two outs in the fourth inning, a two-run single off reliever Anthony Varvaro.

That’s what happens when a team walks the bases loaded with two outs. And when its starter, who happens to own the lowest ERA in the majors, abruptly leaves the game with an injury.

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