Evan Gattis was given a night off behind the plate, but he was called on late in the game to pinch-hit — and the Atlanta rookie delivered. Gattis hit a two-run shot in the top of the eighth to break a 4-4 tie between the Braves and the Pirates.
PITTSBURGH -- Even on what was supposed to be a night off, rookie Evan Gattis continued to make an impact for the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Gattis’ pinch-hit, two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning broke a tie and lifted the Braves to a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
Gattis, who made the jump from Double-A to the major leagues, had started the previous nine games as the cleanup hitter while playing catcher, first base and left field. Manager Fredi Gonzalez decided to give Gattis a rest Thursday because he wanted veteran Gerald Laird to catch rookie Julio Teheran.
However, Gattis was called on to bat for Anthony Varvaro (1-0) after Andrelton Simmons drew a leadoff walk and was bunted to second by Laird.
Gattis drove a 2-0 pitch from Jared Hughes (1-1) down the left field line for to snap a 4-4 tie. It was Gattis’ fifth home run and first as a pinch hitter.
The Braves won a day after their 10-game winning streak ended. They became the fourth National League team since 1980 to win their first seven road games of a season.
Eric O’Flaherty set the Pirates down in order in the eighth inning, and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to convert his seventh save in as many chances.
Atlanta hit a total of four home runs, as B.J. Upton, Chris Johnson and Justin Upton also connected. Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez went deep for Pittsburgh.
Johnson had three of the Braves’ 10 hits, and B.J. Upton also hit a double. The Pirates’ Travis Snider had two doubles.
Neither starting pitcher was effective. Teheran gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings with three walks and four strikeouts. The Pirates’ Jeff Locke allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte had his career-best 10-game hitting streak end, as he struck out in all five plate appearances.
The Pirates had won six of their previous eight games.
NOTES: Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton made his first rehab start for high Class A Bradenton on Thursday night, and he allowed two runs and three hits in three innings against Palm Beach in a Florida State League game. Morton struck out two and did not walk a batter. He underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last June. … Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano, who broke a bone in his upper right arm on Christmas Day, will start for Double-A Altoona next Monday at Richmond in an Eastern League game. He is scheduled to pitch four innings and be on a 65-pitch limit. Liriano pitched three perfect innings and struck out six in his first rehab start on Monday for Bradenton. … Braves left-hander Luis Avilan, who strained his left hamstring Tuesday night, was unavailable to pitch out of the bullpen for a second straight game. The Braves plan to wait until Sunday to decide whether Avilan will go on the disabled list. … Atlanta right-hander Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.50) will go for his 200th career victory on Friday night when he faces Pittsburgh left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (1-0, 1.00).