ANAHEIM -- For a moment Wednesday afternoon, it looked like Kevin Gausman’s seven innings of one-run ball against the Angels would be forgotten.
Juan Lagares was ruled safe at the plate after seemingly beating Buster Posey’s tag in the bottom of the 12th inning, fireworks were shot off at Angel Stadium and “Angels Win” flashed on the video boards throughout the Big A.
But after a review of the play determined that Posey’s tag was on time, the game went on. The Giants went into the 13th inning with the score tied 2-2 and put together seven runs. The rally was capped by Mike Tauchman, who hit a three-run homer after going 0-for-5 with five strikeouts, and the Giants had a 9-3 win.
“It was a wild day for sure,” said Steven Duggar, who was 3-for-6 with three RBIs in the win. “Baseball sometimes happens. Wild finish. I thought he was out from the first replay, but you never know in that situation. Sometimes they might not have enough information to overturn the call, but thankfully they got the call right and we kept moving.”
After a 13-inning game that lasted 4 hours and 51 minutes, Gausman's solid day seemed like a distant memory. But Giants manager Gabe Kapler said it was pivotal in putting San Francisco in a position to win.
“After the game, we walk into the clubhouse and Gausman's in front of the line for high fives and the beginning of the celebration. And the first question is like, 'Did you pitch in this game?’” Kapler said. “It feels like it was so long ago. But I think without his start, we probably don't have an opportunity to win the game.”
Gausman struck out nine batters and allowed just four hits and a walk while dropping his season ERA to 1.49.
He matched Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani throughout the game. They combined to keep the game scoreless through four innings. Both right-handers struck out nine batters, but Gausman was able to outlast Ohtani, who was pulled after six innings and 105 pitches.
“[It was] a pitchers’ duel for the majority of the game,” Gausman said. “And our bullpen really pitched well down the stretch. That rule with the guy on second base is tough. … I got all I needed to get done long before this Zoom meeting. So I was definitely sitting around watching the guys. I was about to go back in the dugout, but we put it together that last inning. [Tauchman] came up with a big swing to kind of put it away.”
Gausman came into the game with one of the most dominant pitches in all of baseball -- his splitter. He had posted a 49.1% whiff rate and held batters to a .112 batting average and a .161 slugging percentage with the pitch.
Gausman continued to use the splitter effectively against the Halos. It accounted for 49 of his 100 pitches and followed a similar trend as it had through his first 14 starts: 53% whiff rate, while all nine strikeouts -- including two against Ohtani -- came on the pitch.
The matchup between aces was also a matchup of splitters, as Ohtani had deployed the offering to hold opposing hitters to a .075 batting average and a .104 slugging percentage entering the day.
“It was interesting to see those guys go toe to toe. Obviously the fastball-split combination is not all that different,” Kapler said. “They both utilize those two pitches heavily, Ohtani probably mixes in a slider more than Gausman does. [Gausman] will mix in his changeup from time to time. But I thought they both pitched quite well.”