Pinch-hitter pitcher Gausman sac fly in 11th, SF tops Braves

SAN FRANCISCO (AP). Kevin Gausman heard the boos as he entered the batters box. He realized immediately that the Giants had lost all their options and were without any position players.
The pinch-hitting pitcher stepped in and gave the ball, launching a full-count sacrifice fly that loaded the bases with San Francisco's base runners in the 11th inning. This allowed them to move up to the top of the NL West standings.

Gausman stated, "Oh man, that was probably the coolest thing I've ever done in all my career." It was the most memorable moment of my life, when it was 3-2 and everyone stood up. It was crazy.

The Giants were saved by Donovan Solano's COVID-19 injury list. They connected for a tie-breaking pinch-hit homer with two outs to the ninth and moved two games ahead Los Angeles Dodgers (in the division race).

Atlanta's lead in the NL East was reduced to two games by Philadelphia.

There were no Giants pitchers remaining when Gausman (with a.184 season average) hit for Camilo Doval who was a reliever. He had never batted professionally before.

My main goal was to look normal, not ridiculous. I wanted to just swing at strikes and take good swings. It's not something I could have imagined I would find myself in today's situation.

It's not absurd. Not even close.

Brian Snitker, Braves manager, was caught off guard.

Snitker stated that he thought he would probably take the 3-2 pitch to limit his strike zone, and perhaps swing at one above his head.

Instead Gausman struck a flyball to shallow left field, and Brandon Crawford won the throw home with an impressive head-first slide. Gausman was cheered by his teammates and chest bumped by his teammates 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 found his answer in the celebration.

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Craw was running when I turned around, and I was stunned. It was quite cool. It was a great sight for the fans to see a pitcher hitting it in the 11th. ... I was booed when they called my name. They thought there were more people on the bench, but they weren't. We didn't have anyone else.

Crawford started the final inning at 2nd base. He advanced on a wild pickoff by Jacob Webb (4-3), which was followed up with an intentional walk to Evan Longoria. Solano was walked with one out to load the bases.

He takes his batting practice seriously. Gabe Kapler, Gausman's manager, said that Gausman was an excellent at-bat pitcher and position player. A game plan was in place and he was eager to pitch. Craw did a great jump, and made a spectacular slide.

Crawford was retired by Tyler Matzek after he grounded him on a grounder, with two outs in 10th and bases loaded.

Doval (3-1), pitched an 11th-inning pitch for the win.

The Braves fell 4-2, but rallied in the ninth when Travis dArnaud struck a three-run homer. To start the inning, Austin Riley and Adam Duvall both hit consecutive singles against Tyler Rogers. dArnaud connected one batter later.

Will Smith, a former Giants relief pitcher, was unable to score and Solano scored.

Brandon Belt was able to hit a two-run homer. Crawford also connected. LaMonte Wade Jr. scored a splash homer.

Logan Webb, San Francisco's starter, struck out nine batters and didn’t walk one. He also allowed two runs on six hits. He was poised to win his 10th consecutive victory dating back to the May 5 loss at Colorado.

This is what I've been waiting all year. Webb stated that Gaus got it today, and of course I pitched. It was great fun.

Six of the seven previous wins were in San Francisco. This was their first appearance since May 2019.

Atlanta's 10 last losses were by two runs or less.


For the longest streak of home runs since June 25-July 12, 2019, the Giants have won 12 consecutive games, a record-breaking total of 26 games.

Solano's shot was the 16th pinch-homer for San Francisco in franchise history.

Belt's homer gave him a 10-game winning streak.


Braves: Atlanta's series finale against Colorado was cancelled on Thursday. This gave the Braves an advantage when they travel cross-country to San Francisco. Snitker expressed hope that this might be a good thing for everyone, but especially his bullpen. He said that it's not a bad thing to have that day off.

Giants: Jake McGee, reliever, was placed on the 10-day injury list due to a strain in his 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/28th. He could pitch before the regular season ends. ... OF Alex Dickerson (right-hamstring strain) still requires minor league rehab before he can be activated.


RHP Jay Jackson was recalled by the Giants from Triple-A Sacramento. INF Thairo Estrado was also optioned to Sacramento.


LHP Alex Wood (10-4 and 4.08) will make his debut for San Francisco on Saturday. This is his first start since Aug. 26, when he was returning from a COVID-19 bout. He said he hopes to get deep into the game and that he will just take it inning-by-inning and see what happens.

Wood suggested that you get back in and have a few before the playoffs, then be ready to go. We are just happy to be back, and to have a chance at winning.

RHP Charlie Morton (13-5 and 3.49) pitches for Braves in search of his first win against Giants since Aug. 20, 2015.


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