Atlanta Braves rookie pitcher John Gant picked up his first Major League victory on Friday night against the team that drafted him.
John Gant, a Georgia native, was making just his second major league start and pitched two-hit baseball into the seventh inning as the Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Mets 5-1 at Citi Field. The Mets originally drafted Gant in the 21st round of the 2011 draft before trading him to the Braves last year as part of a package for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe.
Facing off against Matt Harvey, Gant gave up a leadoff double to Curtis Granderson in the first inning and then proceeded to retire 20 of the next 22 batters he faced. After giving up Granderson’s hit, Gant did not allow another hit until a two out sixth inning double by Asdrubal Cabrera.
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He was able to keep the Mets batters off-balance all evening with his unorthodox delivery and excellent changeup. Gants final line for the night was 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, and 5 K and lowered his era on the season to 4.37.
After the game Gant discussed his in-game mindset by saying, “I was just thinking in my head, Bear down and don’t let them score, God willing, it worked out.”
The rookie’s stellar outing gave the Braves a victory in the opening game of a three game series in New York and also earned the Braves their third consecutive victory.
In all likelihood Gant has earned himself another turn in the rotation as the last-place Braves seek consistency from a young pitching staff. Injuries and inconsistent play has already forced the Braves to use nine starting pitchers in the first 61 games of the year.
If given the opportunity, Gant’s next turn in the rotation should come the next week in Atlanta against the very same Mets club. As the Atlanta Braves labor through a difficult season there will be plenty of opportunities for young players to make their mark and Gant took a major step forward on Friday evening.