Zach Britton is trying to make it four straight quality starts for the Orioles' pitching staff tonight against the Angels.
Over the last three games Alfredo Simon, Jeremy Guthrie and Tommy Hunter have worked to a combined ERA of 1.71. They have pitched a total of 21 innings giving up 16 hits and four runs with seven walks and 24 strikeouts.
So far, Britton has blanked the Angels through three innings on 52 pitches. He threw 17 in the first, 10 in the second and 25 in the third when he pitched around a two-out walk.
He is working with a 5-0 lead thanks to a pair of first-inning homers as J.J. Hardy hit a two-run shot and Mark Reynolds a three-run blast, his 34th.
The Orioles, who had been outscored 107-50 in the opening inning this year, led 5-0 after one tonight.
Britton had allowed eight earned runs over 10 innings over his past two starts against the Yankees and Rays. In the three starts before that he had given up just three earned runs over 18 innings.
He has been a much better pitcher at home this year, going 5-4 with an ERA of 2.84 and batting average against of just .226 in 12 starts.
In 13 road starts this year, he is 4-6 with an ERA of 6.39 and .331 average against.
Update: After homering in the first, Reynolds was hit by a pitch in the left side of his batting helmet in the third inning. He stayed in the game then, but when the Orioles took the field for the top of the fifth, Reynolds was replaced. Chris Davis moved from third to first base and Josh Bell entered at third base. No report yet on Reynolds.
Britton allowed his first run and hit of the game in the fifth. He gave up two singles and a Bobby Wilson sac fly as the O's lead 5-1 after 4 1/2 innings.
Update II: Britton exited the game after a stellar seven-inning outing. He gave up just three hits and one run with two walks and a career-high seven strikeouts, throwing 105 pitches. Orioles' starting pitchers have now worked exactly seven innings in four consecutive games, pitching to an ERA of 1.61 in that time.