SAN DIEGO - Major League Baseball players like to pretend that they don't sneak peaks at the out-of-town scoreboard, especially when the calendar is still so far away from September.
But Derek Holland is an honest person.
"We're not going to act like we don't pay attention to it," Holland said. "We're not out of it, that's for sure. Five games? That's not that much. We've still got two months, at least."
It's 5 1/2 games, to be exact, but that's a hell of a lot better than what it could have been. The Giants looked headed for a meltdown Monday night, but they righted the ship, pulled a 5-3 win out over the Padres in the 12th inning, and gained a game on all three teams ahead of them in the NL West.
They still are not in an ideal position. They're 5 1/2 behind the Dodgers, 5 behind the Diamondbacks and 4 1/2 behind the Rockies. But with the trade deadline looming, the players found a way to remind management that perhaps this isn't a lost cause, despite what the projection systems say. Manager Bruce Bochy admitted that it was a big win. Holland said it needs to be the start of something.
"We don't want to turn into sell mode or anything," he said.
It doesn't sound like the front office will hit that switch. There's nothing cooking as tomorrow's 1 p.m. deadline approaches, per sources, and after a few days where it looked like the front office should certainly sell, the Giants have won back-to-back games. These things are generally not decided on a day-to-day basis, but losing to the lowly Padres a few hours before the deadline might have shifted some thoughts.
Instead, Chase d'Arnaud hit a three-run homer, the bullpen overcame a wobble from Mark Melancon, and Gorkys Hernandez smoked a solo shot in the top of the 12th. The long homer made a winner of Will Smith, who tacked on to good work done by a pair of rookies. Reyes Moronta threw two shutout innings in relief of Holland. Ray Black threw 1 2/3 hitless innings to help keep the night going after Melancon gave up the lead in the eighth.
"They're nasty," Smith said. "Mo keeps getting better every time he goes out there, and I feel the same way about Ray."
The Giants were helped by a mistake from the Padres. With runners on first and third and one out in the 11th, Austin Hedges tried to bunt. Bochy said he wasn't surprised that they attempted a squeeze, but Sam Dyson scooped the ball up and threw low to first, where Austin Slater saved the game with an athletic pick. A few minutes later, Hernandez put a hanging breaking ball into the second deck.
The celebration in the dugout was raucous and Holland said the clubhouse was just as loud. Smith struck out the side in the ninth and the players came out for their handshake line. They anticipate the same exact group taking the field tomorrow shortly after the deadline.
"This is the group we have," Bochy said. "I don't know what's going to happen. I can't tell you what's going to happen. The only thing we can do is come out and try to win a ballgame."