A Gausy performance: New starter leads Braves to victory
Since acquiring starting pitcher Kevin Gausman from the Baltimore Orioles, the Atlanta Braves rotation went into Sunday’s series finale against the Miami Marlins with a 2.54 ERA in August.
That is the third lowest ERA in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. It only got lower after Gausman himself threw five shutout innings, allowing one hit with five strikeouts as the Braves avoid the sweep by coming out with a 4-0 win over the Marlins.
“I had pretty good fastball command from the get go,” Gausman said. “When I’m able to throw the ball up when I want to and down when I need to, I can be pretty tough on hitters.”
Gausman lowered his post-trade ERA to 1.69. Despite losing the first two games in Miami, the Atlanta starters have allowed only three total runs during the road trip and none of them were home runs.
“I can’t say enough. He’s exceeded expectations,”Braves manager Brian Snitker said, on Gausman’s short stint with the club. “He’s fit right in in the clubhouse and on the field, he’s been awesome to have here.”
“I think we realized pretty quickly in his first outing [with the Braves] just how well his fastball seems to play up,” Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. “And even in that outing, he didn’t have any of his off-speed going, and he ended up with a decent outing. You could see the potential right away. He’s a lot of fun to catch, I know that.”
Marlins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez had to break up the no-hitter himself with a single in his first at-bat.
“It was a 1-0 count, I figured I’d get a fastball, and I tried to put a good swing on it,” Lopez said. “Kevin Gausman was doing a really good job. I wasn’t aware we had no base hits. I put a good swing on it.”
The rookie allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts and five walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“The good thing about Pablo is he understands what he’s going to need to be successful here,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “When you look at yourself as a fastball — two-seam and four-seam — and a changeup [guy], without a real breaking ball, you start to see how hard it is to get through lineups. He understands he’s going to need a better breaking ball to go to another level.”
“Definitely, I mixed in off-speeds more earlier in the game,” Lopez said. “I tried to execute them, 0-0, and even behind in the count, trying to get back in the count. That worked really well. We stayed with our plan.”
The Braves bats small-balled their way to victory. They got the lead in the sixth inning on a Flowers RBI. Atlanta opened the lead wide in the eighth inning after a throwing error by first baseman Derek Dietrich led to two runs scoring, followed by a sacrifice fly by Ender Inciarte.
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