"I told Buck [Showalter] I was good if [he] needed me to pitch today. I was available," Britton said. "He said if we had a chance to win the game, I was going to be in there. I felt pretty good."
The All-Star lefty entered a scoreless game in the ninth inning with a runner on first base and two outs, following setup man Darren O'Day. Britton's wild first pitch allowed Starlin Castro to move to second, but catcher Matt Wieters picked off Castro to end the frame.
Britton took center stage in the 10th, showing no ill-effects from either the long layoff or the ankle injury. Following a leadoff walk to Brian McCann, he struck out the side, lowering his season ERA to 2.38 in the process.
"It was huge," Britton said of Wieters' pickoff. "That entire at-bat, I was kind of feeling like my focus was on whether or not I was going to feel [the ankle discomfort on] every pitch, even though I wasn't. And then, obviously, Matt made a huge play right there to get us back in the dugout. So I felt like that time in the dugout, sitting on the bench, I was able to come down and refocus a little bit."
"It's tough, because we don't know for sure what we're going to get," Showalter said of Britton, who was wearing an ankle brace. "I thought that [pickoff] kind of picked up his confidence a little bit. Not his confidence, just the anxiety he might have had about how he was going to do with the ankle, so that was a big threshold to cross over."