In this image from video, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried answers questions during a postgame press conference after a Major League Baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, May 5, 2023 at Truist Park in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

On a cloudy, cool and sometimes drizzly sixty-one degree night on Cinco de Mayo, the Baltimore Orioles spoiled the party plans of the Atlanta Braves. Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander hit two home runs including one grand slam en route to a decisive 9-4 victory over the Braves on Friday night at Truist Park.

Baltimore’s Dean Kremer pitched six strong innings, giving up only one run on six hits as he picked up his second win of the season. His opposite number, Max Fried, took the loss as he gave up seven runs (five earned) in six innings while striking out seven Orioles. 

“I’m not going to forget what happened,” Fried admitted after the game. “I know I need to make sure that what happened doesn’t happen again. And going forward, I’m checking all the boxes. Like I said, this is one that’s going to sit with me for a little bit. I’m not happy with my performance.”

Santander hit his home runs from both sides of the plate tonight. His first home run was off of Fried in the fourth to put Baltimore in the lead for good. Santander hit his first career grand slam in the seventh inning against Joe Jimenez, as fans from the ‘Charm City’ began to celebrate in the stands. It capped off a career-high five RBI night for Santander.

Braves manager Brian Snitker quickly brushed aside any fears of slippage from his pitching ace.

“Yeah, just kind of an uncharacteristic game for him,” Snitker said of Fried’s performance. “You know guys that win the Cy Young end up having some of those over the course of the year. It happens.”

Fried falls to 2-1 on the season with only a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings pitched. 

Meanwhile, Sean Murphy hit his ninth home run of the season. The catcher is on pace to hit 48 home runs. His output has surprised everyone in Braves Country, including Snitker.

“He’s having just a really great start to the year that’s for sure,” Snitker said. “The big runs he’s driving in, that was big right there. His bat’s so good, his catching is good. He’s really really locked in on all facets. It’s a really impressive start of the year.”

Notably, Ronlald Acuña Jr was back in the lineup for the Braves after he was hit in the back in Miami Monday night. The Braves’ left fielder is currently hitting .352 with six homers, 20 RBIs, 29 runs and 15 stolen bases.

Braden Shewmake, the Braves’ first round pick in the 2019 draft, made his debut tonight at shortstop after Vaughn Grissom had five errors in eighteen games. The Texas A&M product went 0-for-4 in the evening. 

Additionally, center fielder Michael Harris II was not in the lineup for the second straight game due to what was described as a jammed right knee. He worked out before the game and was listed as day-to-day.

Finally, the Braves announced that catcher Travis d’Arnaud was beginning a rehab assignment with Gwinnett.

Tomorrow, right hander Kyle Bradish (1-1, 6.14 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Orioles as he matches up against Atlanta right hander Spencer Strider (4-0, 2.57).

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Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...