MIAMI -- It took 52 games and 175 at-bats for Rob Brantly to connect on his first home run of the season. But as much of a relief as it was to circle the bases, the Marlins' rookie catcher was equally satisfied to once again feel comfortable in his approach.
Brantly, who turns 24 on Sunday, went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in Miami's 6-4 loss to the Braves on Tuesday night.
In his first full MLB season, the left-handed-hitting catcher has endured his share of growing pains. He entered Wednesday batting .242 with a .296 on-base percentage, one homer and 18 RBIs.
Brantly's three-run homer came in the second inning on Tuesday.
"It's been a lot of work this year," Brantly said. "It's been a big learning process for me, as far as putting together consistent at-bats. I really feel like [Tuesday] was one of the first days in a long time where I put together some consistent at-bats. I just want to carry it over."
The daily grind of the big leagues magnifies the importance of staying mentally focused.
"It's what it always is -- it's mental, always," Brantly said.
There have been challenges both at the plate and behind it.
Brantly has committed six passed balls and he has four errors. In Tuesday's loss, Henderson Alvarez was charged with a wild pitch on a ball that Brantly probably could have technically blocked better. It was ruled a wild pitch that could have just as easily been a passed ball.
"I love the position I play at, because you do have to stay locked in the entire time," Brantly said. "With each game, and each success and each failure, I'm growing, and we're growing as a team."