Zach Britton certainly proved the doubters wrong tonight.
With many questioning Buck Showalter’s decision to turn to him for tonight’s start since he had struggled lately, Britton stepped up and gave the Orioles seven scoreless innings in a 3-2 win over Detroit.
With the win, the Orioles tied a club record with their 12th consecutive win in one-run games. They had done this three times before, most recently from June 2 to July 8, 1979.
Jim Johnson got the final three outs to record his 36th save.
Chris Davis ended a 56 at-bat, 13-game homerless stretch with a three-run shot in the top of the seventh that provided the Orioles’ only scoring and snapped a 0-0 tie. Over his previous 10 games, Davis was 5-for-39 with no extra-base hits and just one RBI.
But he came up with a line-drive homer to left off Rick Porcello after singles by Adam Jones and Matt Wieters led off the inning. It was Davis’ 19th homer, two off his career high set with Texas in 2009.
Britton gave up six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 103 pitches, improving to 2-1 with an ERA of 6.23 in six big league starts in 2012. In his previous three starts for the Orioles, he had allowed 20 runs over 13 1/3 innings and he gave up six runs in 3 2/3 frames in his last start Monday for Triple-A Norfolk.
Britton was backed by three double-play balls and he pitched out of some jams early in the game as the Tigers went 0-for-5 against him with runners in scoring position over the first three innings.
Britton delivered a much-needed big performance for himself and the team after the Orioles had lost a lead and the game last night and with these clubs among the AL’s wild card contenders. The O’s and Tigers began tonight with identical 64-55 records.
Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta came up with a two-run single in the last of the eight to end Pedro Strop’s scoreless streak at 17 games. It pulled the Tigers to within a run.
In the third and deciding game in this series Sunday at 1:05 p.m., Wei-Yin Chen (11-7, 3.70 ERA) pitches for the Orioles against Detroit right-hander Doug Fister (7-7, 3.24 ERA).