Zach Britton pitched six shutout innings and the bullpen held off a late Cleveland rally in a 4-3 Orioles win on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.
J.J. Hardy homered in the first inning and singled in a run in the seventh to finish the day 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs. Wilson Betemit went deep in the eighth off former Oriole Jeremy Accardo to put the Birds up 4-0.
Britton (1-0) had much better command than he did in his debut last week, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out five, and ended his outing with a bases-loaded strikeout. Luis Ayala pitched two scoreless innings before serving up a two-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth. Jim Johnson allowed another run to cross before striking out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat and the game. Johnson leads the Majors with 30 saves, and the O's are a perfect 38-0 when leading after seven innings this season.
The Birds have now won five straight and are still in contention in the East, trailing the Yankees by six games. Tommy Hunter takes the mound on Monday night as the O's go for the four-game sweep of the Tribe.