The Giants held their breath for a few seconds in the bottom of the third inning of their 6-5 loss to the Braves on Friday in Atlanta.
Braves outfielder Jorge Soler had hit a high chopper over the mound, forcing first baseman Darin Ruf to range to his right to field the ball.
Kevin Gausman, the staff ace, raced over the first base and took the throw from Ruf, but he never found first base with his foot and when he stepped, he rolled his ankle.
Gausman laid on the ground next to first base after the awkward slip, which caused him to do a modified version of the splits.
He got up and walked back to the mound without any noticeable limp, but his catcher, Buster Posey, wasn't taking any chances, and called for manager Gabe Kapler and the trainer to come check on Gausman.
"I just thought by the way he was walking I could tell that something was bugging him," Posey told reporters after the game. "At that point, you feel like it's worth them coming out, if not more than to give him a little time to assess what he's feeling."
While it looked like Gausman might have tweaked his ankle on the play, he revealed to reporters after the game that he actually aggravated a hip injury he has been playing through since April.
"I've been dealing with the hip issue for a majority of the season, and it's really kind of gone away the last couple weeks and just kind of re-aggravated it there," Gausman said. "I was in a weird position. My foot just kind of gave out on me with all my weight on it. It didn't feel good, but I made pitches after it. I just really didn't want to come out of that game right there, with how many innings our bullpen has been throwing for us, to put that on those guys, I just felt like I was able to go."
Gausman told reporters he initially hurt his hip against the Miami Marlins on April 24 in San Francisco. Then on May 30, while facing the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Gausman exited the start with left hip tightness after awkwardly fielding a ground ball on the third-base side of the mound.
Gausman underwent an MRI after the game against the Dodgers in May, and the scan came back clean.
The good news for the Giants on this night is that Gausman stayed in the game, and he gave them the length they needed from their starter.
Gausman made it through six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out two. He didn't issue a walk and finished with 91 pitches. He said he wanted to pitch the bottom of the seventh, but when his spot came up in the top half of the inning, Kapler elected to use Alex Dickerson as a pinch-hitter, ending Gausman's night.
Once Gausman was out of the game, the Braves pounced on the Giants' bullpen, scoring four total runs off Tony Watson and Zack Littell in the bottom of the seventh.
It appears Gausman avoided a serious injury that could have hurt the Giants' chances of holding onto their NL West lead over the Dodgers.
For now, Gausman and the Giants can breathe a sigh of relief.