All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for Baltimore Orioles standout closer Zach Britton, that included his American League record for consecutive saves.
The two-time All-Star allowed two runs in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game, which allowed the Oakland A’s to force extra innings. The blown save was Britton’s first since Sept. 20, 2015, ending a streak of 60 save attempts in a row that he had converted successfully.
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Britton passed Tom Gordon, who converted 54 consecutive save opportunities for the Boston Red Sox between the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He was 24 away from tying Eric Gagne’s MLB record of 84 consecutive saves, which he established between the 2002 and 2004 seasons while closing for the Dodgers.
Wednesday’s rough outing contributed to a miserable afternoon for Baltimore’s late-inning relief corps. The Orioles once comfortable five-run lead quickly evaporated over the final three innings as setup man Mychal Givens allowed one inherited runner from starter Dylan Bundy to score before giving up a two-run home run to Matt Joyce in the eighth inning. Britton was then summoned to protect a two-run lead in the ninth, but struggled from the get-go.
Britton faced five batters, retiring only one — on a Matt Joyce sacrifice fly — before Buck Showalter turned to Miguel Castro with the go-ahead run in scoring position. Castro walked one, but managed to escape a bases loaded, one-out jam to keep the game tied. Castro would go on to get the win after Manny Machado launched a walk-off home run in the 12th. Castro pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Though the Orioles were happy to win the game, there was more concerning news regarding Britton afterwards. That’s when manager Buck Showalter revealed Britton would undergo an MRI on his knee on Thursday.
Britton getting MRI on knee tomorrow
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) August 23, 2017
Britton has already made two trips to the disabled list this season for forearm discomfort. The good news is this ailment is not related to that. Britton also made it clear the knee has been an on-going issue since 2014, which indicates it hasn’t impacted his performance. Still, the Orioles will undoubtedly be cautious with their closer down the stretch.
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