(Harper homered against Teheran two innings prior.)
Roughly eight minutes after the so-called incident, full of sound and fury but ultimately signifying nothing, Gattis treated Braves fans (and those who cover the team with passionate disinterest) to a genuine moment of on-field intrigue, lacing an inside-out, opposite-field single to right field, scoring B.J. Upton (two hits, two steals vs. Washington) and Andrelton Simmons.
The two-out, two-RBI hit was the only blemish on Gio Gonzalez’s resume, as both he and Stephen Strasburg turned in sublime performances for Monday and Tuesday … but with no Washington wins to show for it.
As a result, the Braves (69-45) now lead the second-place Nats (54-59) by a staggering 14 1/2 games. Before you know it, there will be talk of “magic numbers” and Atlanta clinching the NL East before the first NFL Sunday (Sept. 8).
Incidentally, if the postseason started today, the Braves would own the No. 1 seed in the National League playoffs, which should be their primary goal from this point forward.
Back to Gattis (seven RBI since July 29): He had a productive July (one homer, six RBI, .263 batting), but those numbers are a far cry from the 12 homers, 32 RBI and .280 batting average for April and May combined.
Perhaps Tuesday’s bout of pinch-hit glory (subbing for an injured Jason Heyward — strained neck) will spark the next run of timely extra-base hits and tape-measure homers.
3. The Braves are just three wins from tying the franchise’s modern-day record of 15 straight victories
It wasn’t my intention to minimize the 1891 Boston Beaneaters’ feat of 18 straight victories (Sept. 16-Oct. 2), a streak that coincides with Hall of Famer Cy Young’s first full season in the big leagues.
But it’s not like anyone from two centuries ago is still around to give me guff about the omission.
And even if that 127-year-old person — who would also double as a Beaneaters/Boston Braves/Milwaukee Braves/Atlanta Braves fan — were still around to lament the snub, I’d still question their memories of teams from the Dead Ball Era.
That hypothetical, Guinness-record-setting person would have been 3 years old back then.
Besides, at least two of the 18 consecutive victories had to come via forfeit … in terms of teams not getting to cities like Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Brooklyn, Cincinnati or Pittsburgh on time.
Fast forward to the recent past: The Braves’ modern-day record of 15 straight wins (2000 — April 16-May 2) included victories over the Brewers, Phillies, Pirates, Padres and Dodgers (two series). And during that period of excellence, Atlanta pitching surrendered only 34 runs (over 141 innings), for a cumulative ERA of 2.17.
For the Braves’ current win streak, the offense has per-game averages of 5.9 runs; and the pitching has a cumulative ERA of 2.33 during this period of superb, but not-yet-century-defining greatness.