ATLANTA -- The Braves' recent success up and down the batting order has taken much of the spotlight off rookie Evan Gattis, who has returned to earth from the tear he was on in April and May before an oblique strain cut short his improbable first half. Gattis has a .543 OPS since returning from the disabled list, and his current streak of 44 at-bats without a home run is the longest he has endured this season.
As the season has progressed, Gattis has understandably dealt with the adjustments made by Major League pitchers seeing him for the second and third time, but he noted the changes in approach have not been as drastic as the numbers may show.
"People still throw strikes," Gattis said. "I think early, I started swinging at stuff up, so that's kind of been the book."
"I'm thinking maybe the injury, he missed a month," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "And the combination of people making adjustments, they got videos, they got advance scouts. But he's doing OK. The other day he got in the game and drove in the two runs we ended up winning the game by."
In that at-bat, Gattis took the first pitch he saw from Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez the other way for a go-ahead two-run single that was all the Braves needed in a 2-1 victory. The slicing opposite-field hit was the polar opposite of the many moon shots that helped build his legend early in the season.
"Even guys that pull the ball, they stay inside it, so I just tried to stay inside the ball, and it was away, so I hit it away, shot up the right side," Gattis said. "It's not like I was up there trying to hit it to right field or anything like that, it's just kind of where it was. Gio being a lefty, he's probably going to go in for effect anyway. He's probably not going to go in for strikes too often, probably more to back you off to get you scared about everything else."
Gattis was in the starting lineup catching and hitting cleanup on Saturday night in place of Brian McCann, who got the day off to rest and deal with some minor knee soreness he experienced on Friday. With his solo home run Friday night, McCann extended his lead over Gattis and the rest of the Braves with just 14.59 at-bats per home run this season.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.