Givens' slider a big weapon in relief for O's

Givens' slider a big weapon in relief for O's

KANSAS CITY -- Orioles reliever Mychal Givens showcased several impressive sliders in getting out of a bases-loaded jam on Friday night, as the right-hander's performance was one of the keys in Baltimore's 8-3 win over the Royals.

"I believe I can throw it at any count," said Givens, who struck out Salvador Perez and Omar Infante to secure starter Tyler Wilson's win. "And that [slider] is a pitch…you better have some comfortability that you can throw any pitch in any count."

Entering the sixth inning with one out and the bases juiced after lefty Brian Matusz, Givens won an eight-pitch battle with Perez. He followed that up with an impressive full-count strikeout of Infante, lowering his season ERA to 3.00.

"[I] developed that slider last year, that's what helped me last year with my strikeout rate," Givens said. "It helps with my fastball, just being able to do that and having the confidence to do that to Perez 2-2 and Infante 3-2 in a tight situation, just gong out there and having the confidence and going out there and attacking."

A converted shortstop, Givens' natural athletic ability and unusual arm angle makes him quite a threat and the second-year pitcher -- who ran his streak to seven scoreless outings -- has graduated into bigger situations like Saturday's.

"Yeah, it's really nice to have trust from [manager Buck Showalter] in putting me in that situation. At the same time, we are relievers and we take pride in that," Givens said. "We take pride each time we go out there, a clean inning or helping the pitcher before us. We take the baton and try to do what we do best."

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