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Gattis returns to Braves, belts game-tying homer

ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis certainly knows how to make his presence known. The Braves' rookie slugger homered in his first career plate appearance back in April and then spent Tuesday night's 3-1 win over the Mets marking his return to the Major League level in an authoritative manner.

Gattis recorded a pair of singles with the first two swings he took and then drilled a game-tying seventh-inning home run off Carlos Torres that gave the Braves more reason to feel good that they had sent him to their Triple-A Gwinnett club over the previous three days to get the consistent at-bats he had not been recently getting at the big league level.

"He went down there and he took it the right way," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He went down there and worked on his swing. He got 13 at-bats that he might not have been able to get in that time span up here and it worked."

When the Braves returned from St. Louis on Aug. 25, they began thinking about what to do with Gattis, who had totaled 18 plate appearances over the previous 14 days and was in the midst of a 38-game stretch in which he batted .185 (22-for-119) with a .543 OPS.

The club decided it would be best to get him regular at-bats with Gwinnett. But the move was not made for another four days, until after Gattis was honored during last Friday night's already-planned El Oso Blanco Night at Turner Field. Gattis was optioned immediately after that night's 2-1 win over the Marlins, during which he drew an intentional walk as a pinch-hitter.

Still the transaction provided Gattis enough time to regain some confidence and reacquaint himself to getting regular at-bats. In the three games he played for Gwinnett, he went 6-for-13 with three doubles and a home run -- the last one ever hit at Knights Stadium, the longtime home of the Charlotte Knights.

Gattis' brief stint with Gwinnett helped him regain the aggressive approach he had when he hit .285 with 12 homers and a .965 OPS in the first 42 games of his career this year.

The aggression was certainly on display as he swung at the first five pitches he saw from Torres and then looked at one before lining the next one over the left-center-field wall in the seventh inning. The game-tying shot capped a memorable three-hit performance and accounted for his first home run since July 24.

"It was definitely exciting," Gattis said. "It had been a while."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Eric Single is an associate reporter for
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