Britton throws three shutout innings as Orioles, Yankees play to scoreless tie

March 07, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

SARASOTA, Fla. — The night included a botched national anthem, an appearance by actress Cameron Diaz and an encouraging performance by the Orioles' top pitching prospect.

It just didn't include any runs as the Orioles and New York Yankees played to a scoreless tie through nine innings in front of an announced 8,471, a record baseball crowd at Ed Smith Stadium. The crowd, at least for three innings, included Diaz, the girlfriend of Yankees star third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale.

The Orioles, who lost to the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers earlier in the day, are 4-3-2 in the Grapefruit League.

Orioles starter Zach Britton pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out one. He has pitched five scoreless innings this spring. The first two came against the Philadelphia Phillies last week when the young left-hander acknowledged that he was so nervous, he didn't even know what was going on.

This time, Britton was all smiles when he took the mound, partly because he was still laughing after the national anthem singer forgot the words and then informed the crowd that he was starting over.

"I was excited to be out there, but I really wasn't nervous," Britton said. "I was talking to the guys, and they were like, 'Hey, just go after the guys.' They were no different than the Phillies were. I have a lot of respect for what those guys have done on the field, but in between the lines, I was like, 'I don't care who you are, I'm going to go after you today. If you beat me, you beat me.'"

Britton started the game by retiring Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, all on ground balls, and on a total of 13 pitches. He threw 42 total pitches, 23 for strikes. Rodriguez hit a leadoff single in the second inning, and Jeter connected for a one-out single in the third.

Kevin Gregg followed with a scoreless inning. Jeremy Accardo pitched two scoreless innings, and David Riske, Clay Rapada and Chris Jakubauskas also turned in scoreless frames.

Sergio Mitre threw three scoreless innings for the Yankees, allowing three hits and striking out three. He was spared an earned run when center fielder Greg Golson made a great throw to home to cut down Mark Reynolds, who was trying to score from second on Adam Jones' single with no outs in the second inning.

The Orioles had six hits in the game. Matt Wieters went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, and Nick Markakis went 0-for-3, striking out twice.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

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