SAN DIEGO -- As they have done since the minor leagues, and more than 200 times in the big leagues, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey took a slow stroll out onto the field together Sunday afternoon. They will forever be connected, and they both knew that there was no guarantee they would ever do this again.
It is now far more likely than not that Bumgarner remains with the Giants on August 1, but the all-clear has not yet come from the front office. After a 7-6 win over the Padres, Posey admitted that he did briefly consider that this might have been his last time catching Bumgarner.
"You think about it," he said. "But once you're out there on the field it wasn't something that crossed my mind."
Posey had other things to worry about. The Giants had to scrap a bit, but they got another series win, their seventh straight, to continue sending a message to management. Posey said he has not felt the need to tell Farhan Zaidi this group must stay together, noting Zaidi has a strong track record as an executive and the players' job is to perform on the field.
Sunday's win was a reminder of how far they have come in July. It once was a lock that Bumgarner, Will Smith and Sam Dyson would either be elsewhere by July 31 or very seriously shopped. Against the Padres, the trio recorded all 27 outs.
It was hairy at times, particularly when Smith gave up a two-run homer in the ninth. Bumgarner allowed a three-run shot but otherwise was sharp, giving up four earned runs while throwing just 86 pitches in seven innings. He said he hates saying the phrase "one bad pitch" because you so often get away with mistakes, but on this day it applied. The only real mistake was a flat cutter that Hunter Renfroe crushed for a three-run homer.
"Today is a time when I could actually say that and it makes sense," Bumgarner said. "That guy is a good hitter. I should have done something else."
Bumgarner recovered and the lineup backed him against a slew of Padres swingmen and relievers. Posey helped make sure Bumgarner's last appearance before the deadline was a win, notching three hits and driving in a big insurance run in the ninth.
The Giants won four of Bumgarner's five starts in July, a month that has been filled with off-field rumors. Bumgarner has tried to tune it all out, and on Sunday he repeatedly smiled and threw his hands up in a shrugging motion when asked about the upcoming deadline.
"Don't care," he said, laughing. "I've got a job to do and I'm going to do it."
He is lined up to do it next Friday in Denver, but first the Giants have to get through three more tense days. They are off Monday and then face the Phillies once before Wednesday afternoon's deadline. They have changed the view of this deadline with their play on the field, and Bumgarner said he's looking forward to it continuing.
"It's pretty incredible this run we've been on," he said.
Bumgarner paused and then corrected himself.
"I don't want to call it a run," he said. "I want us to keep doing it. Let's go with we've been playing good and want to keep doing that."