Britton sharp in first back-to-back outing

Britton sharp in first back-to-back outing

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles closer Zach Britton is already in midseason form.

Britton, pitching in his first back-to-back outing this spring, struck out the side in the seventh inning of Thursday's 6-5 win over the Pirates.

"He was looking forward to today," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Britton. "Sometimes that second day is better than the first day as a reliever. It's more of a reminder how this role has really fit him in all ways."

Britton has allowed just one run in seven Grapefruit League innings and threw a pair of scoreless innings in a Minor League game on March 16. By official spring stats, the lefty has allowed three hits and walked two, striking out 11.

"His offseason, I can tell he's found an approach and he's staying with it. But he's constantly tinkering, trying to get better. If you hear him [after an outing], he's 'I should have done that, I got away with that,'" Showalter said. "I think Zach, when he's not throwing 96, 97 anymore he's going to still be an effective pitcher. As the velocity comes down, this [knowledge] is going to come [up]. He's going to be one of those guys. But it doesn't seem like that's on the horizon right now."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.