The Braves returned home Friday but were shellacked before a sell-out crowd at Truist Park, losing 9-4 to the Orioles.

Here are five takeaways from Friday:

1. A once-tight game completely unraveled in the seventh. The Braves surrendered seven runs, turning a 2-1 deficit into 9-1. It was a bizarre occurrence with ace Max Fried on the mound.

A synopsis of what unfolded: Cedric Mullins homered off starter Fried to open the inning. Ryan McKenna reached on a soft single. Gunnar Henderson walked. Fried committed a throwing error to first after fielding a Jorge Mateo bunt. Fried walked Adley Rutschman, which led manager Brian Snitker to summon reliever Joe Jimenez.

One out later, Anthony Santander crushed a grand slam. The Orioles logged three more hits off Jimenez before the inning mercifully concluded.

“They didn’t do a good job picking up Max, that’s for sure,” manager Brian Snitker said.

2. Friday was a rarity for Fried. He allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in six innings. He allowed two homers and committed two errors, both on throws to first base.

“This one is going to sit with me for a little bit,” Fried said. “Personally, just an extremely sloppy game on my part. … Two errors is unacceptable. We take the lead, I give up the lead, and also give up the homer on top of it and put us in a hole real quick. Lost any momentum we had. Just not a way to win a game.”

Fried surrendered two home runs after not allowing one over his first 23 innings (four starts) entering the evening. Santander, as part of his two-homer performance, hammered an elevated Fried fastball. Mullins homered off an elevated inside sinker.

There aren’t many better at keeping the ball in the yard than Fried. He’s allowed 0.6 homers per nine innings over the past three seasons. This was the first time Fried surrendered two homers in a start since Sept. 16, 2022. He allowed only two multi-homer efforts last season and three such games in 2021. It was also the first time he’d allowed seven runs since April 13, 2021, when he gave up eight (seven earned) against Miami.

3. As for the errors, this was unprecedented. Fried, a three-time Gold Glover, had only committed three errors across the previous three years. He’d made only seven errors in his six-season career entering Friday. This was the first time he’d made multiple errors in a start.

“That was an uncharacteristic game for him,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Guys who win the Cy Young end up having some of those over the course of the year. It happens. … He’ll be fine. Like I said, you’re going to have those every now and then. Your command is going to be off and he’s such a good fielder and everything. … It was uncharacteristic stuff from him.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. One bright spot: Catcher Sean Murphy hit a three-run homer in the eighth. It was his ninth home run in 29 games. His single-season career high is 18, which he achieved in 148 games last season. It’s very early in his Braves tenure, but thus far Murphy has looked like one of president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos’ shrewder moves – and he’s had many.

4. Braden Shewmake made his long-awaited MLB debut, starting at shortstop and hitting ninth. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

“It’s been amazing (to watch Shewmake),” Shane Shewmake, Braden’s father who was among a contingent of family and friends in attendance, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Since he was little, he always wanted to do this. All the work he’s put in has finally paid off for him.”

5. Remember when the Orioles were the joke of MLB? Their rebuild began yielding results during a winning 2022 season, but the Orioles are off to an outstanding start in 2023. They’re 22-10, a half-game better than the Braves (22-11) for the second-best record in the majors. The Orioles have some parallels with the 2017-18 Braves, ushering in an abundance of young talent that’s found success.

Stat to know

7 -- The Braves have lost seven consecutive home games when their attendance exceeds 40,000. They had 41,076 on Friday.


“I’m not going to forget what happened tonight. I need to make sure what happened tonight doesn’t happen again. … This one is going to sit with me for a little bit. I’m not happy with my performance.” - Fried

Up next

Spencer Strider (4-0, 2.57) tries to extend his hot start against righty Kyle Bradish (1-1, 6.14) as the Braves-Orioles series continues Saturday.

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