LEADING OFF: Gausman brings bat, arm for NL West-leading SF

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Kevin Gausman, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt

San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Gausman, rear, celebrates with Brandon Belt (9) after hitting a sacrifice fly that scored Brandon Crawford (35) during the 11th inning of the team’s baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in San Francisco, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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PITCH AND POP

Kevin Gausman returns to the mound — and plate — as he tries to help the Giants protect their lead in the NL West.

Gausman (14-6, 2.78 ERA) is lined up to start at Petco Park against the wild card-contending Padres. San Francisco holds a one-game edge over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division lead.

An All-Star this year, Gausman made his latest contribution with his bat, not his arm. With the Giants out of position players, he stepped up as a pinch-hitter for a rookie reliever who had never batted as a pro and delivered a game-ending sacrifice fly in the 11th inning to beat Atlanta on Friday night.

“Oh man, that was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my entire career,” said Gausman, a .184 hitter this season.

Joe Musgrove (11-9, 2.99) is lined up to pitch for San Diego.

CHAMPAGNE ON ICE

Tim Anderson and the Chicago White Sox can wrap up their first AL Central crown in 13 years — and secure a second consecutive postseason berth for the first time in franchise history — with a win at Detroit and a Cleveland loss to Kansas City.

Dallas Keuchel (8-9, 5.23 ERA) pitches against the Tigers in a game moved from 6:40 p.m. EDT to 1:10 p.m. to try to avoid expected rain. Cleveland hosts the Royals at 6:10 p.m. EDT.

FOR THE WIN

MLB wins leader Julio Urías and the Dodgers open a series at Coors Field, hoping to gain ground in the NL West chase.

Urías (18-3, 2.99 ERA) is 9-0 in his last 13 starts, a big reason Los Angeles is only one game behind San Francisco in the division race.

The 25-year-old lefty has enjoyed a breakout season — he was a total of 12-7 in his first five years with the Dodgers, though he played a key role last fall as a starter and reliever when they won their first World Series title since 1988.

PERFECT 10

Nolan Arenado and the high-flying Cardinals seek their 10th straight win when they continue their series at Milwaukee. St. Louis has won nine in a row for the first time since 2004 to solidify its grip on the second NL wild card. The Cardinals are three games ahead of Cincinnati for the final postseason spot.

The longest winning streak in franchise history is 14 games, set in 1935.

Milwaukee’s magic number over the Cardinals is three to clinch the NL Central title.

Jake Woodford (2-3, 4.30 ERA) pitches for St. Louis against Brandon Woodruff (9-9, 2.55).

REMEMBER ME?

Two-time All-Star pitcher Luis Severino has rejoined the Yankees almost two years after he last played in the majors.

The 27-year-old right-hander had Tommy John surgery in February 2020 and minor setbacks during his minor league rehab.

Manager Aaron Boone says he’ll use Severino out of the bullpen — he didn’t pitch Monday night as New York moved within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild card.

A 19-game winner in 2018, he was limited by shoulder soreness the next year. He last pitched in a start against Houston in the 2019 AL Championship Series.

“It’s been long enough,” Severino said. “Definitely be ready for any situation.”

NEW LOOK

The last time Anthony Gose was in the majors, in 2016, he was an outfielder known for his speed. He’s back in the big leagues now and still getting attention for being fast — with his arm.

The 31-year-old lefty was promoted by the Cleveland Indians on Monday and got into the second game of a doubleheader against Kansas City, pitching 1 2/3 innings and allowing one run and one hit, with one walk and one strikeout.

Of his 39 pitches, seven hit 100 mph. He struck out Royals star Salvador Perez, who hit his 46th home run in the opener, tying Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead.

“It meant a lot to get the opportunity to go out there again. It’s been a while. I’m excited to be able to have the opportunity,” Gose said.

Gose spent parts of five seasons in the majors with Toronto and the Tigers, hitting .240 with 57 steals, before returning to the minors as a pitcher in 2017.

Gose is in his third year in Cleveland’s system — he struck out 49 in 33 innings at Triple-A this season, going 6-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 28 games. He also pitched four scoreless innings for the U.S Olympic team in Tokyo.

“His story is something that makes me smile, it really does,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said.

SHOWING THEIR METTLE

After falling short of winning gold at the Olympics and taking home silver with a loss to Japan in the final, members of the U.S. baseball team are achieving their other goal of making it back to the major leagues for late-season callups.

Cincinnati brought up catcher Mark Kolozsvary from the minors on Monday, the same night right-hander Shane Baz made his major league debut for the Tampa Bay Rays against Toronto. Reliever Anthony Gose was brought up by Cleveland for his first major league stint since he was a Detroit outfielder in 2016.

They joined Minnesota pitcher Joe Ryan, who made his big league debut on Sept. 1; reliever David Robertson, who returned to the majors that day with Tampa Bay for his first big league appearance since 2019; and Miami infielder Eddy Alvarez, who came up to the Marlins on Sept. 7.

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