#Orioles crush NL-best Braves, 9-4, behind Anthony Santander’s grand slam and 7-run inning – Twin Cities #Usa #Miami #Nyc #Houston #Uk #Es

#Orioles crush NL-best Braves, 9-4, behind Anthony Santander’s grand slam and 7-run inning – Twin Cities #Usa #Miami #Nyc #Houston #Uk #Es

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The Orioles entered the weekend on the heels of a 22-game stretch in which they won 17 games and, mostly, took care of business against inferior opponents.

The opening game against Atlanta on Friday posed a new challenge for Baltimore, as the Braves owned the best record in the National League and had All-Star starter Max Fried on the mound.

Those factors didn’t hinder the red-hot Orioles, as starting pitcher Dean Kremer outdueled Fried and Anthony Santander hit a grand slam to punctuate a seven-run seventh inning as Baltimore powered to a 9-4 win.

“We’re here to make a name for ourselves,” Kremer said.

Kremer scattered six hits across six innings of one-run ball, escaping several jams and ending his final two frames with double plays. The game was a pitchers’ duel through the first six innings, as the Orioles had scored just two runs off Fried. But Baltimore’s bats exploded for seven runs in the seventh, with Santander’s grand slam off reliever Joe Jiménez serving as the knockout punch.

“Incredible,” Santander said about his second long ball. “Felt really good right there.”

The Orioles now have the second-best record in the major leagues at 22-10, ahead of Atlanta (22-11) but behind Tampa Bay (27-6). Winners of seven straight series, Baltimore has triumphed in 16 of its past 20 games. The victory improves the Orioles to 11-0 in series openers.

“I haven’t heard any talk about soft schedule or tougher schedule or what,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think we’re just showing up at the park, preparing extremely well, expect to win. I thought we played really well tonight against a really good team.”

The 22-10 start is tied for the second best in Orioles history. The only Baltimore club with more wins through its first 32 games is the 1970 squad that started 23-9. Those Orioles won 108 games and ended the season as World Series champions.

Santander, O’s tag Fried

Fried, perhaps the best left-handed starting pitcher in the majors, entered Friday with just one run allowed in his first 20 innings of the season. The only time he pitched against the Orioles was in August 2021, when he twirled a four-hit shutout.

The first few innings Friday were much of the same, as the Orioles’ first run was unearned thanks to a throwing error by Fried on a bizarre pickoff attempt that sent Ryan McKenna from first to third. Gunnar Henderson, playing in front of family and friends who traveled from his hometown of Selma, Alabama, plated McKenna on an RBI groundout.

But Santander put the first dent in Fried’s armor in the fourth, turning on an inside fastball and hitting it 402 feet to left-center field. The 28-year-old had a slow start to the season and had a .642 OPS through the first month. His OPS is now .758 after four straight two-hit games.

“He got off to a little bit of a slow start,” Hyde said. “There’s no panic on our end because of what he did last year and the kind of hitter he can be. He’s shown it really the last week.”

Cedric Mullins led off the seventh with a solo homer off Fried to continue the center fielder’s success against left-handers after he struggled against them in 2022. Mullins is 12-for-43 with six extra-base hits and 13 RBIs off lefties this year. He singled later in the inning to bring his RBI total to a team-best 28.

The Orioles brought 12 more hitters to the plate in the inning with six hits and three walks. They took a 4-1 lead on another throwing error from Fried on a sacrifice bunt from Jorge Mateo, who led off Friday for the first time in his career.

Santander’s one-out slam — which he celebrated accordingly by walking down the first base line before starting his trot — scored McKenna, Henderson and Adley Rutschman, who reached base off Fried to end his night. It was the first of the switch-hitter’s career. He again launched the first pitch of the at-bat, but this one came from the left side of the plate and was a no-doubter to right field.

He was greeted by roaring teammates in the dugout, chugged from the homer hose and got a big hug from pitcher Kyle Gibson.

“I think that our dugout was one of the loudest it’s been, just because of the situation and how far he hit it,” Hyde said. “Just a huge hit for us at the time.”

“We were jumping for joy,” Kremer said.

Fried was charged with seven runs (five earned) in his six-plus innings. The last time Fried, the NL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2022, allowed five earned runs in a start was April 2022. He last surrendered seven runs in April 2021.

Kremer gets back on track

Kremer wasn’t just opposite Fried on Friday. He’s been the opposite of Fried for most of the season.

The right-hander stumbled in April with a 6.67 ERA in his first six starts, with one stellar outing mixed in among five underwhelming-to-bad ones. But Kremer pitched Friday like he did down the stretch last season to earn his third win of the season.

“I thought he really competed well,” Hyde said. “I thought the presence was good on the mound. I thought he showed great body language. Because he’s got really good stuff, and I thought he pitched with a ton of confidence tonight, especially after giving up the [run] early, I thought he did a great job after that.”

Kremer (3-1) allowed a run in the first inning on an RBI single from catcher Sean Murphy. He then stranded two base runners in the third and fourth and got double plays to end the fifth and sixth. While he only struck out three, Kremer got 15 whiffs on 48 swings (31%).

“Definitely makes it easier to sleep at night,” Kremer said about his improved results.

Mike Baumann pitched a scoreless seventh before giving up a three-run homer to Murphy. Baumann allowed just one run in his first 14 2/3 innings but has now surrendered seven in his last three frames. Keegan Akin and Austin Voth combined to pitch the final 1 2/3 without ceding another run.

Around the horn

  • Austin Hays was out of the Orioles’ lineup for the third straight game as the bruised/cut finger on his right hand continues to bother him. The outfielder was hit on the hand by a pitch last week, but the cut on his finger worsened after he appeared in a few games in the past week. Hays, who had a soft splint on the finger Friday to prevent the cut from reopening, said he was available to hit off the bench and expects to be back in the lineup soon. Hays pinch ran late in Friday’s win.
  • Luis Torrens, the catcher Baltimore acquired from the Chicago Cubs earlier this week, reported to the Orioles on Friday. Baltimore now has three catchers on the 26-man roster. Ryan O’Hearn, a left-handed bench bat, was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Torrens.
  • Two former Orioles retired in recent days. Matt Harvey, whose final season in the major leagues came in 2021 as a starting pitcher with the Orioles, announced his retirement Friday after a nine-year career. Harvey went 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA with Baltimore and ended his career with a 4.42 ERA. On Wednesday, catcher Robinson Chirinos hung up his spikes after 11 years in the majors. Chirinos played 67 games for the Orioles last season, mostly as Rutschman’s backup, and was praised for being a leader in the clubhouse.

Orioles at Braves

Saturday, 7:15 p.m.

TV: Chs. 45, 5

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM


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