SAN FRANCISCO -- A few minutes after the Giants overcame a deficit in the 16th inning and walked off the Mets in thrilling fashion, Madison Bumgarner tracked down his manager. He still couldn't believe it. He had to talk to Bruce Bochy.
It wasn't the comeback that Bumgarner was incredulous about. He expects great things from this team. It was the fact that Bochy had pulled Bumgarner after 94 pitches and nine innings.
Three years ago, Bochy planned to let Bumgarner pitch the 10th inning of the Wild Card Game at Citi Field before Conor Gillaspie's heroics made it a moot point. On this night, he wouldn't let Bumgarner go past nine.
"He lobbied, trust me," Bochy said, smiling. "He did. He came in after the game and he was still mad at me for not letting him go out there for the 10th."
Bumgarner's lobbying wasn't limited to the manager's office. After a 3-2 win, he held as forceful a press conference as you will get with a pitcher who has spent years saving his best stuff for more casual settings. The message was clear. He doesn't want to be anywhere else on August 1.
Asked specifically about continued trade rumors as the Giants have won 13 of 15, Bumgarner gave a quick answer.
"I don't give a s***," he said. "I'm here to win games for this team and that's what we're doing."
Asked about the possibility of his time at Oracle Park winding down, Bumgarner again shook his head.
"I'm trying to win games for the Giants and we're trying to get into the postseason and we're making a push," he said. "We're coming."
Bumgarner repeatedly mentioned lofty goals, finishing up by noting that this win -- a comeback on a night when a tired lineup struggled to get going -- is the type you see from championship clubs.
"If we manage to keep this going and sneak in (the postseason), I don't think anyone will want to match up with us," he said.
The Giants won't win the division, but they're back near the top of the Wild Card chase and back to one game under .500. If they keep this going, they very well could be in the winner-take-all game for a third time this decade, and there still might be nobody you would rather have on your side that night than Bumgarner.
Three years after he went the distance to send Noah Syndergaard and the Mets home for the winter, Bumgarner again got the better of the flame-throwing right-hander. He struck out six and cruised through the ninth. Bochy, knowing he couldn't use Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson because of recent overuse, still opted for his bullpen.
The Giants bent repeatedly, but did not break. Williams Jerez, called up earlier in the day, finally faltered in the top of the 16th when Pete Alonso took him deep to left. But the dugout wasn't at all concerned. Alex Dickerson and Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the inning with doubles to tie the game. Three batters later, Donovan Solano walked it off.
That made a big league winner of Jerez for the first time, and made that late-game push-and-pull a bit more lighthearted. Bumgarner really did want a shot at the 10th inning, saying later, "How many times do you get a chance to go out for the 10th?"
Bochy wouldn't allow it. He has been particularly protective of his ace this season, and while early on it might have seemed that would only benefit another club down the stretch, the situation has changed. The Giants are firmly in the postseason race, and Bumgarner clearly wants a part of it.
At the very least, he would like two more months with Bochy. Perhaps he'll finally convince his longtime manager to let him pitch into extra innings.
"I didn't try to make it much of a conversation, but he wasn't having it," Bumgarner said, smiling. "Usually, if I really want, I can get my way with him. But he wasn't having it today."