Britton notches first 2012 win with gem

Boston's No. 14 prospect fans seven over five one-hit innings

By Robert Emrich / Special to | April 25, 2012 7:53 PM ET

Drake Britton has endured a lot since being drafted by the Red Sox in 2007. He's now looking to take back his career, thanks to outings like the one he had Wednesday.

The Red Sox's No. 14 prospect allowed one hit and struck out a season-high seven over five shutout innings as Class A Advanced Salem beat Wilmington, 4-1.

After allowing a leadoff double to Brian Fletcher in the top of the second inning, Britton retired eight straight. The streak ended when he issued a two-out walk to Brian Fletcher.

"I'm extremely happy," he said. "I was locked in. I was concentrated on the task at hand and set myself up to be effective and successful."

Britton, who pitched the entire 2011 season in Salem, has struggled to begin 2012. The 22-year-old left-hander entered Wednesday's start 0-2 with an ERA of 13.86 for the Red Sox and had not won a game since May 7, 2011. Britton lost a league-high 13 games while winning just once and posting an ERA of 6.91 for Salem last season.

"I've watched a lot of video of me this past week from Greenville in 2010 when I was successful and I was able to see what I was doing different," he said. "I've been working as hard as I can to get back to that point and something just clicked tonight and I felt right back on track.

"I've always been, up until the last year or so, the aggressor. I like to go right after guys and I finally got that mentality back that no one is going to beat me. I had that tonight and it definitely showed."

Britton was 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 21 starts for the Drive in 2010, his first full season back after having Tommy John surgery in October 2008.

"The feeling I have right now I haven't had for so long, the feeling of success, pitching like the pitcher I know I am," he said. "I felt really good tonight, and given the year I had last year and the three starts this year, I think the feeling I had tonight will never be forgotten. This is the most excited I've been in over a year and I don't want this feeling to go away.

"I'm going to do everything I can to pitch like I did tonight. I want to know that I did everything that I could to pitch like I did tonight."

Command was an issue last season for Britton, as he issued 55 walks in 97 2/3 innings for Salem. This season he's made it a point to improve on that, having walked six batters in 17 2/3 frames.

"Walks are a big part of why I struggled last season," Britton said. "The big thing for me last year was if I fell behind, I thought I was going to walk him. This year I haven't panicked, I knew I would come back and put him away."

Jackie Bradley, Boston's No. 18 prospect, was 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI while Sean Coyle drove in his 13th run of the year for Salem.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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