Gattis making All-Star push; relievers make debuts

WASHINGTON — Evan Gattis was only fourth among National League catchers in the most-recent All-Star fan voting update, but the Braves slugger is making it increasingly difficult for NL All-Star manager Mike Matheny to leave him off the roster for next month's Midsummer Classic at Minneapolis.

Gattis entered Saturday night’s game at Washington with a 19-game hitting streak that was longest for a Braves franchise catcher since at least 1900 and the longest by a major leaguer who caught every game during a streak since Jason Kendall’s 20-game streak with the Pirates in 2004.

And it’s not the length of the streak so much as the numbers within it that were so impressive: Gattis was 31-for-80 (.387) with eight home runs, 21 RBIs and a .725 slugging percentage during the streak before Saturday, including two hits Friday for his eighth multi-hit game in the streak and seventh multi-hit game in the past nine.

He had raised his overall average to .298 with 16 home runs – the most among major league catchers – and 39 RBIs in 57 games, with a .347 OBP and .576 slugging percentage.

Twin debuts: Relievers Juan Jaime and left-hander Ryan Buchter each made their major league debuts Friday when they pitched a scoreless inning apiece in the 11th (Jaime) and 12th (Buchter) innings of the Braves' 6-4, 13-inning win against the Nationals, with Buchter getting the win.

According to STATS, LLC, it was the fifth time since 1914 that two Braves relievers made back-to-back scoreless appearances in their debuts, and the second time this season after lefty Ian Thomas and Gus Schlosser did it on opening day at Milwaukee.

The other Braves pairs that did it were lefties Warren Spahn and Bill Donovan on April 19, 1942; lefty Paul Assenmacher and Duane Ward on April 12, 1986, and Chad Fox and Mike Cather on July 13, 1997.