Gaus­man con­tin­ues strong work as Braves shut out Mi­ami

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY - By Max Good­man

MI­AMI

— In dan­ger of drop­ping their third straight to the Mar­lins, newly ac­quired Kevin Gaus­man (Gausy) put the Braves on his back Sun­day af­ter­noon at Mar­lins Park and pitched a gem.

With yet an­other sparkling out­ing un­der his belt since swap­ping uni­forms at the non-waiver Trade Dead­line on July 31, Gaus­man has not only proven he’s a threat at the top of this club’s ro­ta­tion, but that he’s a stop­per. When the Braves are in dire need of a win down the stretch, it ap­pears they found their guy to go out and get the job done.

Tyler Flow­ers (MMBB) drove in the Braves’ first run of the game -- an RBI sin­gle in the sixth to score Nick Markakis (TTT). The bullpen was ef­fec­tively spot­less, toss­ing four shutout frames to hold on for the 4-0, twohit­ter, win.

Gaus­man was ex­cep­tional. In fact, he was nearly per­fect over five in­nings.

In the third, after re­tir­ing the first eight Mar­lins in or­der, op­pos­ing pitcher Pablo Lopez (Pache) snuck a base knock through the mid­dle for Mi­ami’s first baserun­ner. Bryan Ho­la­day (Holly) would later work a walk off Gaus­man in the fifth -- the only other Mar­lin to reach base off the right-han­der.

For Gaus­man, it was his fast­ball that cat­alyzed his stel­lar per­for­mance.

“I had pretty good fast­ball com­mand from the get go,” he 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.”

His back­stop, Flow­ers, agreed.

“I think we re­al­ized pretty quickly in his first out­ing [with the Braves] just how well his fast­ball seems to play up,” Flow­ers ex­plained. “And even in that out­ing, he didn’t have any of his off­speed 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.”

In the sixth, Braves man­ager Brian Snitker pinch-hit Rio Ruiz for Gaus­man in an at­tempt to break the game open of­fen­sively. Ruiz walked and kept the in­ning in mo­tion, which loaded the bases, only to have Ron­ald Acuna Jr. (Sa­banero Soy) fly out to the warn­ing track in right. Snitker said the de­ci­sion to take out his starter was a tough one -- he thought Gaus­man was des­tined for a com­plete game.

“It looked like he had ev­ery­thing go­ing,” Snitker said. “It’s a shame we didn’t score him any runs be­cause it looked like he prob­a­bly would have fin­ished the game. He was re­ally good — he’s been re­ally good ever since we got him.”

Said Gaus­man on be­ing taken out after just five in­nings: “Ob­vi­ously I’m a com­pet­i­tive per­son and I want to stay out there. But the last cou­ple games, with the guys strug­gling to push across some runs, it was smart. It worked out.”

Since be­ing ac­quired from the Ori­oles, Gaus­man has been lights out, and Sun­day af­ter­noon was no ex­cep­tion. The right-han­der’s fi­nal line in­cluded five score­less frames and five strike­outs. He threw 80 pitches -- 54 for strikes. Gaus­man is now 4-1 in five starts with the Braves, al­low­ing just six runs in 32 in­nings. With Gaus­man throw­ing the ball well, along­side con­sis­tent qual­ity out­ings from the rest of the club’s start­ing staff, At­lanta is poised to take the month of Septem­ber by storm.

“I can’t say enough. He’s ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions,” said Snitker, 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.”

In­stead of los­ing their four-game set with Mi­ami, Sun­day’s hard­fought win clinched a se­ries split and a 5-2 road trip. Not to men­tion the fact that it en­sures the club re­mained three games ahead of the Phillies -- who were also vic­to­ri­ous on Sun­day -- in the Na­tional League East stand­ings.

As for whether or not Snitker and his club are check­ing pe­ri­od­i­cally on the stand­ings, the skip­per said con­tention has been a long time com­ing.

“We’ve been wait­ing for four years for this — check the out of town [scores]. So that’s OK, it’s nice,” he said.

WILFREDO LEE / The As­so­ci­ated Press

At­lanta’s Kevin Gaus­man de­liv­ers a pitch to the plate dur­ing the first in­ning of Sun­day’s game.

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