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Gattis comes through in pinch as Braves win

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis showed again Saturday that he has a flair for the dramatic.

The Atlanta rookie breathed some life into a lackluster offense when he drilled a two-run pinch-hit home run well into the left-field seats with one out in the eighth inning to help the Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1.

Gattis worked the count to 2-and-2 against reliever Kenley Jansen (1-2) and connected for his eighth homer to erase a 1-0 deficit and help the Braves win their second straight game.

"He likes the moment, it seems like," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He doesn't even have to hit the ball square to hit it out of the ballpark. That's what we were looking for and he gave it to us."

It was the second pinch-hit home run for Gattis and his first home run since May 5 against the Mets.

"I fouled off some pitches and got one I could handle," Gattis said. "It's definitely a good feeling. Definitely a good moment."

After B.J. Upton's one-out single, Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly opted to remove left-handed starter Chris Capuano in favor of Jansen, a hard-throwing righty. While Jansen was throwing his warmup pitches, Gattis walked to the dugout and got a fresh scouting report from veteran Justin Upton, who told his less-experienced teammate to expect a diet of fastballs.

"Kenley is pretty much a one-pitch guy," Mattingly said. "At that point he's going to pitch to his strength."

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons followed with a solo homer, his fifth, on the next pitch from Jansen to pad the lead.

"Gattis had a great at-bat," Gonzalez said. "He wasn't going to give in. He's strong as an ox and you've got to make pitches to him. You make a mistake and he can run you out of the ballpark."

Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth inning and struck out two to record his 13th save. The winning pitcher was reliever Cory Gearrin (1-0), who threw a scoreless eighth inning.

The uprising ruined a strong effort from Capuano, who gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings. Capuano allowed five hits, no walks and struck out five. He had thrown only 91 pitches when lifted for Jansen.

"Cappy was really good," Mattingly said. "He gave us a chance to win. We weren't able to close it out."

The late rally also allowed Atlanta starter Kris Medlen to avoid his fifth straight loss. He gave up only one unearned run in seven innings, allowed just two hits and struck out five and walked three.

"Overall it felt awesome," Medlen said. "If I missed, I missed down."

Gonzalez said, "Medlen was ready for one of these. You saw seven innings of the Medlen of last year. I hope it can continue through the next start."

The Dodgers scored their first run in the fourth inning off Medlen.

Adrian Gonzalez walked and scored when Skip Schumaker laced an opposite-field double just inside the foul line and into the left-field corner. Justin Upton let the ball carom off the wall and get past him, which allowed Gonzalez to race home. Upton was charged with his fourth error of the season.

Matt Kemp made a leaping catch in left-center to take a home run away from Jason Heyward in the first inning. The defensive gem prompted Heyward to remove his helmet and tip it toward Kemp.

NOTES: Atlanta put LHP setup man Eric O'Flaherty on the 15-day DL with a torn UCL in his left elbow and recalled RHP Cory Rasmus from Class AAA Gwinnett. O'Flaherty will be examined next week by Dr. James Andrews to determine the next step. Braves GM Frank Wren said, "Obviously, we were hoping it was just a sprain and a short DL stint, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case." Rasmus had appeared in 19 games, posting a 0.93 ERA and seven saves. ... The Braves learned Friday that LHP Jonny Venters would need Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Wren said Atlanta would continue to use a six-man bullpen rather than keep a 12th pitcher on the active roster. ... Kemp, who saw his 14-game hitting streak end on Friday, hit in the No. 2 spot in the order for only the second time this season. ... The Braves hosted Military Appreciation Night on Saturday, with representatives of all branches of the armed forces encircling the bases with players from both teams. U.S. Army Capt. Leslie Nelson threw out the first pitch.

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