After hitting a home run in his first major league game and homering in his first pinch-hit at-bat, Evan Gattis remained consistent Monday by homering in his first game as designated hitter and first in Canada.
The Braves rookie went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, one of the few bright spots for Atlanta in its 9-3 interleague loss to the Blue Jays. The slugger with the colorful past has been the most popular interview request among Canadian writers during the Braves’ two-game series in Toronto.
“He smoked that ball to right-center,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Gattis’ opposite-field homer against right-handed reliever Brad Lincoln. “He’s a special guy.”
It was the 11th home run for Gattis in just 129 at-bats, giving him a National League-leading ratio of one homer per 11.7 at-bats before Tuesday, ahead of Washington’s Bryce Harper (12.5) and Braves teammate Justin Upton (12.6). American League leader Chris Davis (11.0) was the only other hitter with a ratio of better than one every 13.9 at-bats.
Gattis also had a single and a double off the left-field wall against Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, a left-hander who used an array of off-speed pitches and mediocre but well-located fastballs to allow only three hits by players other than Gattis in the veteran’s six innings of work.
In his past seven games before Tuesday, Gattis was 7-for-14 with four homers and 11 RBIs. He had more than twice as many homers as any other major league rookie, and his team-high 31 RBIs were 10 more than any other rookie.
The 26-year-old Texan was hitting .371 in 35 at-bats against lefties, with six doubles, three homers, a .425 OBP and .800 slugging percentage. In 94 at-bats vs. right-handers, he was hitting .234 with eight homers, a .277 OBP and .533 slugging percentage. He switched roles Tuesday with Brian McCann, with Gattis catching and McCann DHing.