Britton outduels Price and O’s come out on top at the Trop

Orioles fans can dream of a future when a pitcher like Zach Britton goes toe to toe with Tampa Bay ace David Price and the Orioles escape with the victory.

They can dream of it or just go back and watch the tape of tonight’s game.

Britton settled down after giving up two runs in the first inning and J.J. Hardy came up with a huge two-run single in the seventh as the Orioles and Britton rallied to beat Price and Tampa Bay, 3-2 tonight.

The Orioles are now 7-6 on the year against the Rays and 6-1 at Tropicana Field.

Britton gave up a first-inning two-run double to Evan Longoria as Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead and Britton needed 31 pitches in the inning. But, over the next five innings, he allowed just two hits and no runs, throwing 66 pitches.

Still, the O’s trailed 2-0 heading to the top of the seventh against Price. But they loaded the bases on a Vladimir Guerrero single and two walks. Nolan Reimold’s sac fly got the Orioles on the board.

Hardy came up with the sacks full and two outs and his ground ball single to left plated two runners for a 3-2 O’s lead and they won by that score.

Britton has now won three starts in a row for the second time on the year. He has given up just three runs over 18 innings since coming off the disabled list and is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.50 in those starts. He is 9-9 with an ERA of 4.22 on the year.

Jim Johnson needed just 20 pitches to blank the Rays in the seventh and eighth and Kevin Gregg pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to record his 20th save. The game ended when Hardy went to the hole at short to make a play to record the final out, with Mark Reynolds scooping the ball out of the dirt at first.

Price, who entered with an ERA of 1.45 over his past four starts, took the loss to fall to 12-12 with an ERA of 3.41.

In three starts this year against the Orioles, Price is 0-2 with an ERA of 4.95. He gave up four hits and three runs over seven innings with 11 strikeouts. He has fanned 25 batters in 14 innings over his last two starts.

Tampa Bay, which entered with a record of 21-12 since July 28, falls to 74-63. The Orioles have now won eight of their last 12 and are 55-81.

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