Sean Gilmartin had a history of pitching poorly on his birthday. On Tuesday, he broke the trend.
Pitching on the day he turned 22, the Braves' No. 5 prospect tossed his second straight complete game for his first Double-A win Tuesday as the Mississippi Braves posted a rain-shortened 3-1 victory over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
Gilmartin yielded a run on six hits and one walk, striking out nine to match his career high. The complete game also was the second of his brief career after he took a six-inning loss in the second game of a doubleheader his last time out.
"My fastball command could've been a little bit better in the first couple innings, but it progressed as the game went on," Gilmartin said. "I had a pretty good changeup, but they were sitting back and hitting it pretty well later on. I had a pretty good curveball working. Me and [catcher] Evan Gattis had good chemistry tonight. We had really good flow throughout the game."
Gilmartin did not surrender a hit through three innings, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced. He ran into trouble in the fourth when he allowed four consecutive singles -- and his only run -- but got out of it when P.J. Phillips grounded into a double play.
"I was just basically trying to slow everything down," Gilmartin said. "When they get four singles in a row, they start to gain momentum. You want to take your time and bring it down a little bit, just try to figure out what you can do. And I was able to do that."
The Florida State product set down eight of the final 10 batters he faced before the game was called. He yielded back-to-back singles to start the sixth but induced a double play by Henry Rodriguez and got Major League veteran Joel Guzman to fly out.
Selected 28th overall in last year's Draft, Gilmartin already has seen time at several levels in the pros. He pitched in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, the Class A South Atlantic League and the Arizona Fall League prior to this season, posting a 3.78 ERA over 52 1/3 innings.
This season, he's put together a 3.20 ERA through 45 frames, striking out 27 and walking seven.
"There's definitely a difference between hitters in [Class A] and here," Gilmartin said. "Guys are a lot more patient, much more mature, smarter. They're older, so much more experienced. Overall, the game's a little bit quicker. Guys learn from at-bat to at-bat and pitch to pitch, the really good ones. As a pitcher, you have to be aware of those things and see what you have working that particular night."
The Braves are known for their ability to develop pitching prospects, with four of the five starters in their big league rotation being homegrown. Though Gilmartin grew up in California, he said he's always appreciated the organization's success and was happy to be drafted by Atlanta.
"Pitching for the Braves organization is a huge honor for me," he said. "I've always been a Braves fan, I like the way they've gone about their business in the big leagues. There's a reason they've been as successful as they have. The coaching in the Minor Leagues has been tremendous with instruction and learning."
Although Gilmartin is not expecting a promotion, he said he is mentally prepared for whatever comes his way as he continues to fine-tune his game at Double-A.
"I'll be ready when the call comes -- if it comes," he said. "But right now, every start is an opportunity to learn and improve. I just want to get better as a whole and become a more complete baseball player."