Madison Bumgarner pushes aside trade talk: “I’m trying to win games for the Giants”

San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA over his last five starts

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the New York Mets in the second inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
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SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants used seven pitchers Thursday night — even with Madison Bumgarner throwing nine sterling innings — and had Tyler Beede in the on deck circle waiting to hit after Donovan Solano.

Beede, who struck out in the 14th inning, didn’t have to take another swing. With the bases loaded and no outs, Solano singled to right off reliever Chris Mazza to score Brandon Crawford from third base and give the Giants an exhausting 3-2, 16-inning victory over the New York Mets at Oracle Park.

The Giants had found all kinds of ways to win in recent weeks, and had just polished off a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in which they piled up 40 runs.

This was, well, different. They struck out 18 times in 15 innings, managed just two hits from the eighth to the 14th innings, and left 14 runners on base.

It matters little now. With their season-high sixth straight win, the Giants stayed 2.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second wild card spot in the National League.

“You’ve got to be able to win all sorts of games, and we’ve got the team that can do it,” said Bumgarner, who went nine innings for the first time since July 10, 2016 against Arizona. “Our first half was not up to our expectations, and we’ve flipped the switch.”

Certainly, Bumgarner isn’t paying attention to any trade talk ahead of the July 31 deadline. And with the Giants in the mix for a spot in the postseason, it’s possible president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi stands pat over the next 13 days and keeps Bumgarner and closer Will Smith for the final two months of the regular season.

In case there was any question about his attractiveness as a trade piece, Bumgarner is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA over his last five starts.

Asked, though, if he’s less worried about a trade considering the way the Giants are playing right now, Bumgarner said, “I don’t give a (crap). I’m here to win games for this team and that’s what we’re doing.

“I’m trying to win games for the Giants and we’re trying to get into the postseason. We’re making a push. We’re coming.”

Manager Bruce Bochy said Bumgarner lobbied him to go out for the 10th inning. After all, at that point, Bumgarner had still only thrown 94 pitches and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

Bochy, though, felt his ace starter had done enough.

“I came in after the game and he was still mad at me for not letting him go out there in the 10th,” Bochy said of Bumgarner. “But he did his job.”

“I didn’t try to make it much of a conversation, but he wasn’t having it,” Bumgarner said. “Usually, I can, if I really want to, I can get my way with him. But he wasn’t having it today.”

Most of the announced crowd of 36,862 at Oracle Park rose to their feet on numerous occasions Thursday for Bumgarner, who was making his 273rd career start for the Giants.

In the seventh inning when Bumgarner strode to the plate with runners on second and third base and just one out, the crowd got up and cheered. Bumgarner took two big hacks at Noah Syndergaard pitches, fouling off 97 mph sinker and a swinging through another one at 98 mph. Bumgarner eventually struck out, chasing a slider out of the zone.

They rose to their feet after Bumgarner retired the side in order in the eighth inning, and again in the ninth after he stranded a runner.

“It means a lot,” Bumgarner said of the ovations. “We’ve been through a lot here and been here a long time. That’s special.”

With another win Friday, or even if they win two of three to finish the series with the Mets, the Giants will be back to .500 for the first time since the start of the season. They were 12 games under .500 on June 29 after a 4-3 loss to the Diamondbacks.

How significant would that be for this team?

“We plan on going a lot further than that,” Bumgarner said.

“We’re still close to the midway point. But, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he added. “It’s pretty exciting to watch these games. We’ve got a lot of veterans, a lot of guys that have been there before. If we manage to keep this going and sneak (into the playoffs) I don’t think anyone’s going to want to match up against us.”

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