Britton caps perfect first half with 100th save

Orioles' closer heads to All-Star Game with 27 saves

Britton caps perfect first half with 100th save

BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton truly achieved perfection in the first half of the Orioles' season.

The All-Star ended the first half in style by registering his 27th save in 27 chances -- the 100th of his career -- as the Orioles headed into the break with a 4-2 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon.

Britton took over as closer early in 2014 after Tommy Hunter struggled in the job when taking over for Jim Johnson. The left-hander has fared nicely since the start, and he's now making his second consecutive All-Star appearance. Britton heads to San Diego with a 2-1 record and an 0.72 ERA, having struck out 43 with 10 walks in 37 2/3 innings.

The 100 saves ties Britton with Stu Miller for fourth place on the team's all-time save list. The left-hander also has not allowed a run in the last nine games he's appeared in.

"[One hundred] is a nice little number but like I said, I think it's more of a credit to how well Darren [O'Day] and Brad [Brach] have thrown in front of me, and a lot of other guys, too, to put me in a situation to be successful," Britton said. "It's a group effort."

Britton had 37 saves in 41 chances in 2014 and 36 in 40 opportunities last year. The left-hander said that he learned to change a few things, probably on his focus when he's in certain situations.

"I feel like I haven't really given in this year, and I think that's one thing I wanted," Britton said. "I looked back on some of the saves I blew last year, and I felt like at times maybe I gave in when I was behind on the count. I feel like I've been pretty much making them swing at the pitches I want them to swing at."

Catcher Matt Wieters has worked with Britton a lot during his role as the team's closer and said that the more he throws, the better he can become.

And that's bad news for opposing hitters.

"I think, with any closer, the more success that they have, it gives them more information to draw back on," Wieters said. "He's always been comfortable in that role but at the same time, each time he goes out there and sees different swings or sees different things, he's really good at kind of trying to read what the hitters are trying to do to him, which is big."

The Orioles optioned right-hander Jason Garcia back to Double-A Bowie after Sunday's game. He was called up this weekend and was with the team for two games but did not pitch. 

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.