This, that and the other

WASHINGTON - Dean Kremer was following the rotation’s lead of hanging up zeros, being extra stingy Sunday afternoon with only one hit allowed, and the bats broke out to remove any potential drama. A sweep in Cincinnati was a certainty, with only the final score pending.

Anthony Santander provided the game’s first run with his RBI single in the first inning, but he had one more damaging swing in him. It didn’t influence the outcome, but he needed it.

Facing right-hander Emilio Pagán in the ninth, Santander laid into a four-seam fastball and drove it 402 feet to right-center field for his third career grand slam.

Santander had five hits since April 21 before going 3-for-4 to raise his average from .200 to .218 and his OPS from .668 to .722. He was slashing .179/.225/.381 against right-handers before last night, increasing the important of the blow against Pagán.

The only other five-RBI game in Santander’s career was May 5, 2023, against the Braves and he also hit a grand slam.

Santander’s run-scoring single Sunday in the first, at 107 mph, came against a two-strike curveball that hung in the middle of the plate. He was batting .136 with one RBI his last 13 games.

“I feel way better from the right side than the left side,” he said yesterday. “I’ve been thinking too much mechanically. The day before I started working more to be more smooth, more relaxed, more in my legs to try to be more connected to the ground and use more of my hands.

“I got good results the next day after I started doing that the day before.”

Before last night, Santander owned a .947 OPS in the Orioles-Nationals series that was the second-highest by a player after Juan Soto’s .977, according to STATS. Manny Machado had the second-highest by an Oriole at .907, followed by Adam Jones at .877.

Santander’s .595 slugging percentage was the highest in the matchup’s history.

There’s more work to do, especially batting left-handed. Santander struck out in his two trips to the plate against Nationals right-hander Trevor Williams. He grounded out against right-hander Derek Law in the seventh inning.

* Kremer had a bandage around his right middle finger yesterday after receiving further treatment for a blister that popped up a couple of starts ago.

Though Kremer dominated the Reds Sunday with one hit allowed in six scoreless innings, he could be seen flexing and shaking the hand. Nothing that warranted a mound visit or his removal. No big deal.

“It wasn’t going to take me out of the game,” he said.

“That was the worst, but it’s manageable,” he said. “It developed the last start. We had to take it down all the way until it was raw skin and kind of build it back up.”

As the rotation lines up, Kremer would start Sunday against the Diamondbacks at Camden Yards after Cole Irvin and John Means.

* Brandon Hyde was 16-8 against the Nationals prior to last night’s 3-0 loss, the fourth-best record by any manager in a minimum of 20 games since they moved to D.C., according to STATS.

The best record belonged to Edwin Rodriguez at 15-6, for a .714 winning percentage. Rodriguez resigned from the Marlins in 2011 and Hyde served as interim manager for one game in his major league debut on the job.

* The Orioles are 15-2 this season when scoring first, the best record in majors heading into last night. They finished last season ranked first at 61-19.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead last night in the second inning, so the Orioles must wait to improve on their mark.

* I recently made reference to the Dylan Bundy trade back in December 2019, the memory sparked by recent news of Zach Peek’s transfer to the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction of his right scapula.

Kyle Bradish was the prize of the four-pitcher return, which also included Kyle Brnovich, who has a 3.10 ERA and 0.934 WHIP in five appearances with Double-A Bowie and is averaging 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Bundy didn’t sign with another team over the winter and appears to have moved on from his baseball career. He’s now employed as a real estate agent at Ary Land Company in Oklahoma.

The former Orioles right-hander and fourth-overall draft pick in 2011 started his new job in January. He’s also offering pitching and hitting lessons for kids ages seven and older.

* Friday night’s game against the Diamondbacks at Camden Yards airs exclusively on Apple TV+.

Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Rich Waltz (play-by-play), Ryan Spilborghs (analyst) and Tricia Whitaker (sideline reporter).

American League Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson and National League Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll will attract lots of attention.

* Former major league outfielder Dexter Fowler has graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational and Professional Communication. Major League Baseball posted the news on the former Twitter.

I hear Fowler agreed to attend the University of Maryland and changed his mind.

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