Pinch-hitter pitcher Gausman sac fly in 11th, SF tops Braves
SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Gausman heard the boos as he entered the batter’s box. He realized immediately that the Giants were down on their final options and had no other position players.
So the pinch-hitting pitcher stood in and delivered, lofting a full-count, bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 11th inning that sent San Francisco past the Atlanta Braves 6-5 on Friday night to increase their NL West lead.
“That was the coolest thing that I’ve done in my career, Gausman stated. It was one of the most memorable moments in my life, when it was 3-2 and everyone stood up. … Just crazy.”
The Giants, saved when Donovan Solano came off the COVID-19 injured list and connected for a tying, pinch-hit home run with two outs in the ninth, moved two games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division race.
Atlanta saw its lead in the NL East shortened to two games by Philadelphia.
The Giants only had two pitchers on the bench after Gausman’s win with a. 184 Camilo Doval was the reliever. Doval had never batted professionally in his professional career.
“More importantly, I wanted to look normal, so just take good swings and swing at strikes,” Gausman, a happy man, said. “Obviously I never would have thought I would have got in that situation coming to the ballpark today.”
Hardly ridiculous. Not even close. It caught Brian Snitker,
Braves manager, off guard.
” I honestly thought that he’d take that 3-2 pitch to ensure he didn’t expand the strikezone and maybe swing at one above his head or something,” Snitker stated.
Instead Gausman hit an infield flyball to shallow left field, and Brandon Crawford won the throw home with a headfirst slide. Gausman was cheered by his teammates and chest bumped by them near first base, a day after he suffered his first loss since July 30..
The pitcher said that it was the first time he’d pulled a baseball in the major leagues. He soon received his reply during the celebration.
” I was stunned to see Craw running behind me,” he stated. “… It was quite cool. I think the fans enjoyed it, seeing a pitcher hit it in the 11th inning. I got some boos when they announced my name. They thought we had more people on the bench but we didn’t, there wasn’t anybody else.” I got some boos when they announced my name, I think they thought we had more people on the bench but we didn’t, we didn’t have anybody else.”
Crawford began the final inning at second base and advanced on a wild pickoff throw by Jacob Webb (4-3), who then intentionally walked Evan Longoria. Solano was then walked to load the bases with one out.
“He takes his batting seriously. Gabe Kapler, Gausman’s manager, said that it was an amazing at-bat. He was both a pitcher and a position player. “Had a plan and was looking for a pitch in the air. Craw got a great jump and made a great slide.”
Tyler Matzek had retired Crawford on a grounder with two outs in the 10th and the bases loaded.
Doval (3-1) pitched a perfect 11th for the win.
Down 4-2, the Braves rallied when Travis d’Arnaud struck a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth. To start the inning against Tyler Rogers, Austin Riley and Adam Duvall both hit consecutive singles. d’Arnaud then connected one out later.
Solano scored Will Smith, a former Giants reliever who lost his sixth save.
Brandon Belt homered off Will Smith, a former Giants reliever. Crawford also hit a home run and LaMonte Wade Jr. scored a splash homer.
San Francisco’s starter Logan Webb struck nine batters and didn’t walk one, while allowing only two runs on six hits. He was in position to win his 10th consecutive decision dating to a May 5 loss at Colorado.
” This was the moment I had been waiting for this year. Webb stated, “Of course I pitched today and Gaus wins it.” “That was fun, that was real fun, that was awesome.”
The Braves had won six of the last seven in San Francisco, where they played for the first time since May 2019.
Atlanta’s last 10 losses have been by two or fewer runs.
The Giants have homered in a season-high 12 straight games dating to Sept. 5 — 26 total during that span — for their longest such streak since doing so in 13 consecutive games from June 25-July 12, 2019.
Solano’s shot marked the franchise-record 16th pinch-homer by San Francisco this season.
Belt’s homer also gave him a 10-game hitting streak.
TRAINER’S ROOM BRAVES: The rain cancelled Thursday’s series finale against Colorado, which gave the Braves an advantage when they travel across-country to the Bay Area. Snitker expressed hope that this might be a good thing for everyone, but especially his bullpen. He said, “It’s going to be good having that day off.”
Giants: Reliever Jake McGee was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right oblique muscle. After being struck on the right elbow by a pitch Tuesday against San Diego, OF Mike Yastrzemski was unable to make his third consecutive start. RHP Johnny Cueto (strained throwing elbow) played catch to 90 feet in the hope that he would throw live batting practice Sept. 27th, or 28th. He could pitch before the regular season ends. Alex Dickerson, OF (right hamstring strain), still requires minor league rehab at bats before he can be activated.
The Giants have recalled Jay Jackson, Triple-A Sacramento’s RHP, and optioned INF Thairo Esterado to Sacramento.
LHP Alex Wood (10-4, 4. 08) will pitch Saturday in his first start for San Francisco since Aug. 26 as he makes his return from a bout with COVID-19. Wood stated that he hopes to get deep into the game and said “we’re just going to take it inning-by-inning and see how it turns .”
” Get back in, have some before the playoffs, and be ready to play.” “Just happy to be back and be able to give us a chance to win.”
RHP Charlie Morton (13-5, 3. 49) pitch for the Braves in search of his first win against Giants since Aug. 20, 2015,.
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