Zach Britton finally allows first spring run but helps O's top Yankees

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jake Fox hit his eighth home run, most in the majors this spring, and Zach Britton had another impressive outing to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 6-2 on Tuesday.

Britton finally allowed his first run of the spring, but he's making it hard on the Orioles to choose a No. 5 starter. He yielded one run and six hits in five-plus innings, walking two and striking out five. Jason Berken followed and pitched two scoreless innings.

Britton was the organization's minor league pitcher of the year last season while splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A. He has a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings over four spring appearances.

"I got into a lot of deep counts so I wasn't happy about that, throwing a lot of pitches," Britton said. "But I was happy with when there were runners in scoring position I made good pitches to get out of that."

Britton said he's pleased with his spring and has shown the Orioles he's ready for the big leagues.

"Yeah, definitely," he said. "Obviously, I think there's stuff I can improve on. But I think that's stuff I can do not just in Triple-A but in the big leagues. The stuff I need to work on isn't hindering me from pitching in the big leagues, it's just about getting experience.

"I feel like I did what I needed to do coming into camp. Hopefully I'll get another start or two and we'll see what happens."

Britton's assortment of off-speed pitches impressed Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

"He threw the ball well," Girardi said. "We've seen him twice and he's got some weapons. He's got a good sinker, he threw a couple different breaking balls and a changeup. He can move the ball around."

Fox, bidding to become the Orioles' backup catcher, hammered a long homer to left field off Yankees starter Sergio Mitre, giving Baltimore the lead for good at 2-1 in the third. Struggling Luke Scott added his first spring homer, a two-run shot that capped a four-run inning.

J.J. Hardy added a solo homer in the fourth, and Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis had two hits apiece.

Mitre struggled for the Yankees, allowing five hits and five runs in three innings. Nick Swisher had a double and a single to lead the New York offense.

Joba Chamberlain gave up Hardy's homer and struck out two in an inning of work. Mark Prior also fanned two batters during his inning.

Game notes
Chris Tillman, also bidding for the final spot in the Orioles' rotation, had a solid outing against a team of Boston Triple-A players. He threw six innings, allowing one earned run and seven hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out four. ... Baltimore first baseman Derrek Lee, recovering from offseason thumb surgery and a sore ankle sustained last week, split DH duties with Vladimir Guerrero, going hitless in two at-bats. ... Orioles reliever Koji Uehara threw a scoreless inning against a low-level Red Sox minor league club. Uehara, who hadn't pitched since Feb. 28 after having a cortisone shot in his right elbow, struck out one and threw 11 of his 12 pitches for strikes. ... Yankees CF Curtis Granderson was scratched from the starting lineup after straining an oblique muscle during batting practice. He will undergo further examination Wednesday.