Braves 3, Dodgers 1
The Braves already knew rookie Evan Gattis is an impressive
power hitter. He’s also proving a quick learner.
Gattis took advantage of some last-second tips from teammate
Justin Upton before hitting a go-ahead, two-run homer off Kenley
Jansen in the eighth inning, and the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat
the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 on Saturday night.
Andrelton Simmons followed Gattis with another homer off Jansen
after each listened to quick reminders from Upton on the
right-hander’s signature cutters.
”I remembered (Upton) said something about (Jansen) in the
advance meeting, so I wanted to go to him to see what I could
get,” Gattis said. ”Whatever I could get in an at-bat like that
was going to help.”
Gattis said Upton’s advice was to avoid cutters that appeared to
be bound for the middle of the plate, because they would break off
the plate. Gattis said Upton’s instruction was to wait on a pitch
”starting at you, or it looks like it’s starting at you. That’s
going to be the one that you want.”
Gattis fouled off two cutters before hitting the line-drive
Jansen (1-2) said Gattis ”just hit a good pitch.”
”What could I do?” Jansen asked. ”I’m not going to let that
bother me. Tip your hat. He hit a good pitch. You’ve got to go in
there. Period. He’s creeping up on home plate every time I’m
throwing outside. I put it where I wanted to put it.”
Gattis has eight homers and ranks third in the majors with six
”Awesome,” said Simmons of Gattis. ”He’s awesome. Just
amazing. That’s all you can say. Pretty much you saw it coming, but
just seeing it is awesome. He’s a great hitter. He’s always ready
to go and he’s fun to watch.”
Gattis, primarily a catcher, also has played left field and
first base. The recent returns of catcher Brian McCann and right
fielder Jason Heyward from the disabled list may make it difficult
for Gattis to find regular playing time, but he said he enjoys
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sees a benefit in having Gattis
available as a pinch-hitter.
”He likes these moments, it seems like,” Gonzalez said. ”It’s
almost better that you can put him in anywhere you want, but sooner
or later we’ve got to get him three or four at-bats.”
Kris Medlen, Cory Gearrin, and Craig Kimbrel combined on a
two-hitter for Atlanta.
Chris Capuano led 1-0 before he allowed a one-out single to B.J.
Upton in the eighth. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly brought in
Jansen (1-2), the hard-throwing right-hander, to face Gattis even
though Capuano had allowed just five hits and thrown only 91
”I’m not going to let him lose that game,” Mattingly said of
Capuano said he told Mattingly after his last at-bat in the
eighth inning to be prepared to pull him out of the game because he
had lingering problems with a strained calf.
”It wasn’t affecting pitch execution out there,” Capuano said.
”It just feels a little tired. I’ve got an extra day before the
next start. With treatment and stuff we should be able to get that
Gearrin (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth in relief of Medlen,
who gave up two hits and one unearned run in seven innings. Kimbrel
pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.
The Dodgers, who have lost two straight to the Braves after
winning four of five, scored their only run in the fourth. Adrian
Gonzalez walked and scored on Skip Schumaker’s double to the
left-field corner and left fielder Justin Upton’s fielding error.
Schumaker wasn’t given an RBI.
The only other hit allowed by Medlen was a second-inning single
by Tim Federowicz.
”Medlen was outstanding,” Gonzalez said. ”He was ready for
one of these games. You saw seven innings of him being the Medlen
of last year.”
Chris Johnson had three hits for the Braves, who won after
finding themselves in a sudden bullpen crisis.
Before the game, Braves general manager Frank Wren said an MRI
revealed a tear in Eric O’Flaherty’s left ulnar collateral ligament
in his elbow. O’Flaherty was placed on the disabled list and could
face season-ending surgery.
On Thursday, left-hander Jonny Venters had Tommy John surgery
for the second time, ending his season. On Friday, right-hander
Jordan Walden was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of
Medlen, who had been 0 for 13 this season, had a brief
celebration in the third inning when he had a bloop single for his
first hit. Standing and smiling on first base, Medlen lifted his
hands to the sky before giving first-base coach Terry Pendleton a
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp leaped and reached over the
wall to take a home run away from Heyward in the first inning.
Heyward took off his helmet while crossing second base. Just when
it appeared he might toss the headgear in disgust, Heyward instead
lifted the helmet toward Kemp in a gesture of respect.
NOTES: The Braves called up RHP Cory Rasmus from Triple-A
Gwinnett to take O’Flaherty’s roster spot. Rasmus, 25, is the
younger brother of Toronto OF Colby Rasmus. … Medlen lowered his
ERA to 3.02. … Dodgers 2B Mark Ellis, on the disabled list
because of a strained right quad, will join the team in Atlanta on
Sunday and fly with the team to Milwaukee. .. Mattingly said LHP
Ted Lilly (strained right rib cage) will come off the DL soon, but
not necessarily to start. … The series ends Sunday with Braves
LHP Mike Minor (5-2) facing Dodgers RHP Matt Magill (0-0).