Zach Britton saves his way to a new MLB record

Zach Britton, the Baltimore Orioles’ untouchable closer, earned a spot in baseball history after finishing out the O’s 9-6 win against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. That save was Britton’s 35th of the season, and his 39th straight appearance without allowing a single, solitary earned run. That’s a new MLB record.

Those are some impressive names, but there are no more ties for Britton. Now he’s all by his lonesome at the top of that list. And that’s not all the history that Britton is making.

Britton’s road to his 39th straight scoreless outing wasn’t clear and smooth. He got himself into quite the jam, and had to get himself out of it. Britton started off well, getting the first batter to ground out, but from there things got… messier. He walked Brett Eibner, and after a flyout, he allowed a single to Marcus Semien.

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Zach Britton throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016 in Oakland, Calif. Oakland won 1-0. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
(AP Photo)

And the “fun” wasn’t over. Khris Davis hit a ball up the middle, and second baseman Jonathan Schoop grabbed it on the run and tossed it to Ryan Flaherty, who ran over to cover second. But the umpire ruled that Seimen was safe at second, so after weirdly long moment, Flaherty threw it to third. It initially appeared that Manny Machado had gotten the tag on Eibner, and for a precious second, the Orioles thought the game was over and Britton had escaped the jam.

But it actually wasn’t the end of the game. The Athletics challenged the play at third and it was overturned. Britton still only had to get one out, but the bases were loaded. Turns out, it wasn’t a big deal. Britton needed only two pitches to get Danny Valencia to ground out and lock up the save.

No matter what happens in Britton’s next outings, this record is his. And his performance has already brought him into the Cy Young conversation.

Nine relievers have won the Cy Young award, the last being Eric Gagne in 2003. If Zach Britton has anything to say about it, it might be time for reliever number ten.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher