He had a shutout going, but had thrown 110 pitches through six innings today against New York.
Zach Britton then went out and got three quick outs in the seventh, felt strong and was hoping manager Buck Showalter would keep him in the game, even after throwing a career-high 120 pitches.
“I was about to ask him to go back out for the eighth,” Britton said after pitching the Orioles past the Yankees 2-0. “I felt like the last 20 pitches I threw, I felt better than the first 100. That is nice to see. I’ve never thrown that many pitches before, so to be able to finish strong was nice.”
It was less than a month ago, on July 30, that Britton lasted just one-third of an inning in a start at Yankee Stadium, giving up nine runs and seven hits. So did this start mean a lot to him today?
“It was nice,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking of that start. You have to have a short memory, you’ll have good outings and bad outings. So I wasn’t really thinking about getting revenge or anything, just focused on what me and Rick (Adair, pitching coach) had been working on in the bullpen and just executing a good game plan.”
Britton allowed just four hits, all singles, over his seven innings and improves to 8-9 with an ERA of 4.28.
Britton agreed with a reporter’s assesment that he pitched inside a lot today.
“One thing Rick has really stressed to me is, being able to make adjustments on the fly in the game,” Britton said. “If you see something they are not picking up or hitting well, you stick with it. That is stuff I have to learn and there is always more I can learn and get better at.”
Britton has now allowed just one run in two starts since coming off the disabled list. He said he put his time on the DL to good use.
“Not only was it a break for me physically, but mentally too,” he said. “Was able to step back, look at video and go hey, what do I have to do to get back to being what I was earlier in the season.”
Britton’s 120 pitches is the most by an O’s starter against the Yankees since Sidney Ponson threw 128 on June 1, 2004.
The Orioles have now won six straight and pitching has keyed the streak. The team ERA is 1.50 during the win streak and the starting pitching ERA is 1.80 over the stretch.
“It just goes to show you about good pitching,” Britton said about the win, which gives the O’s a 2-0 edge in the series heading into tonight’s game. “If you pitch well and you are pitching deep in the game, these guys will win ballgames for you. When we were not winning games, we were going just four or five innings, maybe less.”