Buck’s Birds sweep Tampa to start 3-0

A weekend of stunningly good pitching ended today with another Orioles win. The O’s scored three runs in the top of the seventh to help make Zach Britton a winner in his major league debut and the O’s beat Tampa 5-1.

They swept the three-game series by a 12-3 score and have their first 3-0 start since 1997.

Britton was excellent in his first big league game, giving up just one run and three hits over six innings. He left in a 1-1 tie, but when the O’s scored three in the seventh to break that tie, he was the pitcher of record.

Buck Showalter tells Gary Thorne how impressed he was with Zach Britton in his major league debut

Mark Reynolds’ RBI double gave the O’s a 2-1 lead and J.J Hardy’s two-run double made it a 4-1 lead. Reynolds added another RBI double in the ninth and Matt Wieters had given the O’s a 1-0 lead with a first-inning single.

O’s starters were amazing all weekend and combined to give up just one run and six hits over 20 innings at the Trop for an ERA of 0.45. Tampa batters went just 6-for-64 vs. those starting pitchers in the series, going 3-for-26 vs. Guthrie, 0-for-18 vs. Tillman and today 3-for-20 vs. Britton. That is a batting average of just .094.

This was the O’s first three-game sweep on the road vs. the Rays since a series back in September-October of 2005. The Birds had just a pair of three-game sweeps vs. AL East opponents last season, one vs. Boston and one vs. Toronto.

The Orioles have now won seven of their last eight games vs. Tampa.

With these three wins, Buck Showalter has now managed 60 games with the Orioles and has a record of 37-23 for a winning percentage of .617.

In the home opener tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 p.m. Jake Arrieta pitches for the O’s vs. the Detroit Tigers Rick Porcello.

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