Orioles closer Zach Britton acknowledged afterward that it was not a command performance but that he was happy to get back into a major league game for the first time since last September.
Britton, who was activated off the disabled list Monday after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, walked three batters for the first time in his four-year relief career but didn't allow a run in a 26-pitch seventh inning.
“It was good to get in a game,’’ Britton said. “Obviously, I was overthrowing everything I think I threw today. I was just excited, moving fast, but just hope to settle in the next time I get on the mound and improve every time I get a chance to pitch.”
He walked Mitch Moreland on six pitches, but got a break after a sinker to Xander Bogaerts caromed hard off the backstop and catcher Austin Wynns corralled it in time to throw out Moreland at second base.
Britton then walked Bogaerts, struck out Rafael Devers flailing at a slider in the dirt, and got a grounder to third base from Christian Vázquez after Brock Holt earned the third walk of the inning.
“Like nine months since I pitched in a big league game, so I almost felt like my debut,’’ said Britton, a 2015-2016 All-Star who converted an American League-record 60 straight save opportunities from 2015 to 2017.
‘It was like an out-of-body experience. It was weird. Just happy to get through that one. I know, obviously, that command is not going to play. I can’t remember the last time I threw a ball to the backstop, so that just shows you. It was a weird one out there, but I was just happy to get it out of the way and I was happy to kind of settle back in and breathe a little bit.”
His fastball averaged 94 mph, around where he was in his minor league rehab outings.