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Gattis clubs Majors' longest homer this year

PHILADELPHIA -- The Braves only had two hits in their 3-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. Both were home runs by Evan Gattis. And the first one was so impressive, was hit so hard, that it remained a big topic of conversation in the clubhouse afterward even though it didn't prevent first-place Atlanta from being swept.

Even Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who served it up, was impressed.

"I felt like I was throwing a golf ball out there and he had a driver," said Hamels. "He's probably going to be in that strongest-man competition at the end of the year. Definitely going to vote on him, because he'll win. It was impressive."

Estimating the distance of batted balls is notoriously unreliable. Probably the most accurate yardstick is the ESPN Home Run Tracker, which had it at 486 feet. That's both the longest homer hit in the Major Leagues this year and the longest in the 10-year history of the Bank.

Gattis hit another one off Hamels in the seventh, the first multiple-homer game of his career. And he might have hit a third but his fly ball to dead center in the fifth was caught at the base of the wall.

"I think the wind just kicked up at the right time. I thought that ball had a chance, too," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Added Gattis: "I thought I hit it well enough to get off the wall, at least, but maybe the wind knocked it down or something. But I felt like I put a good swing on that ball as well."

Gattis was surprised when told there hadn't been a longer homer this season.

"Yeah, I have figured somebody would have hit one further. [Miami's Giancarlo] Stanton or somebody like that. But it only counts as one. And we lost the game. So I'm ready to get after them in Miami."

Hamels had retired the first four batters he faced before Gattis nailed a 92-mph, 1-0 fastball. It carried over the fence, over the Ashburn Alley concourse and off the fronting of the open air Budweiser Roof Top, where fans can stand and watch the game in front of them with the Center City skyline at their backs.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for
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