The Orioles’ 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Friday night was notable for several reasons. The five-run margin equaled their largest of the season. It enabled them to reach 12 games over .500 for the first time since May 9th, 2017, and it was a signature win against a top-shelf opponent.
The Orioles (22-10) have won 18 of 23 games, and after going 17-5 in their 22 games against weaker competition, they begun their 22-game stretch against teams over .500.
Atlanta entered the game with the second-best record in the major leagues, and with the Orioles’ win, they now have the second-best record, trailing only the Tampa Bay Rays, who play three games against the Orioles beginning on Monday night.
Oriole starter Dean Kremer (3-1) allowed one run on six hits in six innings, and beat Max Fried (2-1), who allowed seven runs, five earned, on eight hits in six innings.
Fried’s ERA rose from 0.45 to 2.08. He had given up just one run in 20 innings.
Anthony Santander hit two home runs, including his first grand slam, in a seven-run seventh inning. His five RBIs are a career high.
The seven runs are the most the Orioles have scored in an inning since September 8th, 2021.
Cedric Mullins also homered. Ryan Mountcastle doubled, his eighth consecutive extra-base hit
The Orioles have won the first game in each of their 11 series this season, the longest streak since San Francisco did that in 1973.
Harvey’s retirement: It was only two years ago that Matt Harvey led the Orioles with 28 starts, but it’s a great example of how far the Orioles have come—and how quickly.
Harvey announced his retirement on Instagram on Friday.
In 2021, Harvey was 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA, and the Orioles needed him to make those 28 starts because they needed him. Last year, they re-signed Harvey to a minor league contract even though he faced a suspension for his part in an ugly drug distribution case involving the late Tyler Skaggs.
The signing seemed questionable at the time. However, it turned out that Harvey, after he served his suspension, was at Triple-A Norfolk as insurance, and the Oriole starters performed well enough that he wasn’t needed.
Even though he was a free agent once again and pitched for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, there was no thought of bringing him back in 2023.
I never got the chance to meet Harvey. In 2021, postgame interviews were conducted by Zoom and he never stopped to chat after the media was allowed in the dugout and on the field later in the season.
Now, the veteran leader of the staff is Kyle Gibson, and fringe starters such as Harvey, who once had a great career with the New York Mets, aren’t needed, and that’s progress.
O’Hearn sent down: The Orioles continued their shuffling when they optioned first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn to Norfolk when catcher Luis Tossens was activated. Tossens didn’t play on Friday night.
O’Hearn is another example of a useful player the Orioles don’t have room for at the moment.
In previous years, O’Hearn would have stayed with the team throughout the season, but with the Orioles trying to maximize opportunities for wins, they’ll likely be churning the final few spots on their roster regularly.
Minor league update: Cole Irvin (3-1) allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings in Norfolk’s 2-1 loss to Durham. Irvin struck out four without walking a batter.
Designated hitter Heston Kjerstad hit his eighth home run as Double-A Bowie lost to Erie, 9-4.
Cade Povich (2-2) allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out seven.
In their rehab appearances, Mychal Givens struck out three and walked one in a hitless inning while Dillon Tate allowed two runs on three hits, walking one, but retiring one batter.
Givens is on the 15-day injured list with a left knee injury and Tate is on the IL with a right elbow injury.
Catcher Ramón Rodriguez had three hits.
First baseman Max Costes hit a grand slam as High-A Aberdeen beat Brooklyn, 10-3.
Catcher Silas Ardoin and designated hitter Frederick Bencosme each drove in two runs. Shortstop Jackson Holliday had two hits and scored three runs.
Single-A Delmarva had just three hits in its 7-1 loss to Carolina.