WASHINGTON -- Evan Gattis has displayed his power while hitting more home runs than any other Major League catcher this season. But over the past three weeks, the Braves backstop has proven he can also be a consistent offensive threat.
Gattis extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games with a fifth-inning single off Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Friday night. This is the longest current streak in the big leagues. Gattis entered Friday batting .392 (29-for-74) with three doubles and eight home runs during the surge, which extends back to May 25.
The 15-game hitting streaks compiled by Del Crandall (1958) and Joe Torre (1967) had stood as the longest ever recorded by a Braves catcher.
Relievers Buchter, Jaime come through in debuts
WASHINGTON -- When starting pitcher Gavin Floyd broke his pitching elbow on Thursday night, the Braves opted to take advantage of a chance to add depth to their bullpen for a few days. That decision gave Ryan Buchter a chance to experience a memorable Major League debut, as the left-hander was credited with the win in Friday night's 6-4, 13-inning victory over the Nationals.
Buchter was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Floyd's roster spot at least until the Braves have to add another starting pitcher. As he completed a scoreless 12th inning on Friday night, he was pitching in front of his parents, grandfather and other family members who had driven approximately two hours from their south Jersey homes to see the game.
"You've got to test it out sometime," Buchter said. "It's a good chance and experience for me. It's good for [Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez] to see what I can do."
As his team moved toward its third 13-inning game in a span of seven days, Gonzalez had no desire to pitch Shae Simmons or David Hale.
Thus Gonzalez also opted to send Juan Jaime out to throw the first big league pitches of his career during the 11th inning. Within a span of two innings, the two relievers were baptized in the stressful environment of extra innings in a key division matchup.
Jaime, who was promoted from Gwinnett on Thursday, showed off his high-octane fastball -- which touched 99 mph -- and a 73-mph curveball, as he completed a scoreless inning.
"The first curveball he threw, he froze me playing short," Simmons said.
Jaime and Buchter are a pair of hurlers who have bounced around the Minor League scene since beginning their pro careers with the Nationals.
"That's how you learn," said Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, whose blown save set the stage for the debuts. "You get in there, you get your opportunity and you get to show what you're capable of. They definitely did that tonight. They were really fun to watch. I'm really going to be excited to see how they help our team down the stretch."
Wood to return from Triple-A to take Floyd's place
WASHINGTON -- When the Braves sent Alex Wood to Triple-A Gwinnett last week to stretch his arm out, they did not specify how many starts he would make before rejoining Atlanta's starting rotation. Courtesy of the cruel and ugly elbow injury Gavin Floyd suffered on Thursday night, Wood will return to the Majors next week.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Wood will start in Floyd's place on Wednesday in Houston. Because of Monday's off-day, the Braves had the option to allow Wood to make one more start for Gwinnett. But they instead opted to take advantage of a chance to give all of their starters at least one extra day of rest the next time around.
"We could have kept everyone in line with the off-day and moved [Wood] all the way to the back, but this made more sense to give everybody a breather," Gonzalez said.
Wood allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of the seven starts he made before he was moved to the bullpen in early May. This move allowed the Braves to harness the workload Wood incurs during what is just his second full professional season. But the club had always planned to have Wood in the rotation for the final months of this season.
Wood will likely be limited to approximately 90 pitches against the Astros. The 23-year-old southpaw threw 75 pitches while limiting Indianapolis to one run over five innings on Wednesday.
Floyd had tossed six scoreless innings before fracturing the olecranon in his right elbow with the first pitch he threw in the seventh inning of Thursday night's win over the Nationals. While X-rays taken on Thursday clearly showed a fracture, the Braves wanted their doctors to evaluate Floyd before revealing exactly when he might have a chance to pitch again.
The Braves were hoping to get more information regarding Floyd's visit on Friday night.
J-Up to be evaluated for recent dizziness
WASHINGTON -- Justin Upton was hoping to resume his full-time responsibilities on Friday against the Nationals. But instead, the Braves' left fielder was left to wonder what has caused him to feel dizzy much of this past week.
Upton felt strong enough to make a pinch-hit appearance during the eighth inning on Thursday. But by the time he returned to Nationals Park on Friday afternoon, he was once again being plagued by the dizziness and haziness that he has felt this week.
"As soon as I saw him, I knew he wasn't feeling good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's not feeling good physically, and he's feeling terrible that he can't get in the lineup."
Upton has now missed three straight starts because of the dizziness and haziness. The veteran outfielder said Thursday that he thought he was being affected by an inner-ear ailment that might have developed while playing in Denver's high altitude last week.
While Upton might be dealing with fluid in his ear, the Braves scheduled a physician to come to Nationals Park during Friday night's game to complete a thorough examination.
"Now, I think it's time to test everything," Gonzalez said. "He's getting kind of frustrated with the way his body feels and the way he feels. I think it's time for him to go get a full evaluation."
Upton played the entirety of the first four games after the Braves returned from Denver just before midnight on June 11. Thursday's pinch-hit appearance accounts for the only game action he has had since exiting after the sixth inning of Tuesday night's loss to the Phillies.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.