"I thought they were all needed,” Showalter said. “It's not like they were pile-on runs. It was runs we knew we were probably going to need.”

Orioles lefty Zach Britton did nothing historic Friday, but he was excellent for the second straight outing.

Coming off his best start this season with the Orioles, when he threw seven scoreless innings Saturday in a win against the Detroit Tigers, Britton (2-2) gave up four hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings Friday, walking two and striking out six. The sinkerballer got 11 of his outs via groundballs and at one point retired 12 of 13 batters.

“I was throwing it over the plate and letting it do its work,” Britton said of his sinker. “Not nibbling today. Which is really big. The defense made some really big plays to help me out, so a lot of credit goes to them.”

Britton left in the seventh with two on; Rajai Davis plated one with a RBI double against Darren O'Day. Showalter then summoned lefty Brian Matusz, who was recalled Friday and hadn't pitched in relief in his big league career.

“It was a quick call,” Showalter said of bringing in Matusz. “He came in today and I said, 'We'll talk a little later, be ready to pitch tonight.' On call, get up, get ready, come in.”

Matusz struck out Colby Rasmus to keep the game in check, though a two-run homer by Jeff Mathis in the ninth against Matt Lindstrom cut the lead to two. Closer Jim Johnson entered and retired both batters he faced for his 39th save, giving the Orioles their 13th win in 19 games. Fourteen of the Orioles' last 22 wins have come by two runs or fewer.

They keep winning in different ways, and they keep hanging in the pennant race as September nears.

“It's awesome. These guys have been a lot of fun all year,” Davis said. “We've had a lot of success this year. And the reason that is is because it's a loose clubhouse and we enjoy being around each other and enjoy going out and playing.”

dan.connolly@baltsun.com
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