Giants eke out win thanks to Mets' 13th-inning blunder


Giants eke out win thanks to Mets' 13th-inning blunder


NEW YORK — Extra-inning games are often the best ones, with a little additional strategy, tense late-inning at-bats, and guys coming through in the clutch. 

This ... this was the opposite of all that. 

The Giants and Mets played flat baseball for more than four hours before the Giants won 2-1 on a dropped two-out pop-up in the top of the 13th. In many respects, this was one of their worst offensive performances of the season, but in the end they came through with a win, getting to 3-4 on this road trip. 

Chase d'Arnaud got to third with no outs in the 13th on a single, error and wild pitch. The Giants did their best to let the opportunity slip away. Joe Panik popped up and Buster Posey hit a bouncer that led to d'Arnaud being thrown out at the plate. Brandon Crawford popped up to shallow left but Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith collided and Rosario dropped the ball. The go-ahead run scored. 

Here's some of the earlier action ... 

--- The top of the fifth was one of the low points of the season. Belt singled and Evan Longoria doubled to put two in scoring position with no outs. Zack Wheeler struck out Steven Duggar and Alen Hanson, and Derek Holland hit for himself. He struck out, too. Wheeler had 10 strikeouts, his first double-digit game in four years. 

--- Derek Holland gave up one earned in five-plus innings. He’s had short starts for the most part since returning to the rotation, but he’s keeping the Giants in games. Holland left with two on and no outs, but Sam Dyson saved him with a double play. 

--- Mark Melancon pitched two innings for the first time as a Giant and did well. He struck out three of the six batters he faced, getting the game to extra innings. 

--- Austin Jackson made a diving catch in the second to rob Belt of a single to center. Yes, that Austin Jackson. The catch was better than any play he made in three-plus months with the Giants. Baseball is weird. 

--- Wilmer Flores is still using the “Friends” theme song as his walk-up song. Strong move. 

Giants might have two best pieces available before MLB trade deadline

Giants might have two best pieces available before MLB trade deadline

SAN FRANCISCO -- We tend to look at everything from a local standpoint around here, which means this upcoming trade deadline is mostly about two Giants: Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith.

Both pitchers have been asked about trade rumors in recent weeks, and every start Bumgarner makes comes with the tag "could be facing Team X for the final time as a Giant" or "might be pitching at Stadium X for the final time in orange and black."

MLB Trade Rumors is among the outlets that takes a national view, and on Monday they ranked the top 50 players available before the July 31 deadline. Their list, however, had a very, very local flavor. And it probably had Farhan Zaidi smiling. 

The website listed Smith as the No. 1 available piece before the deadline, with Bumgarner ranking right behind him. Left-hander Tony Watson (No. 6), right-hander Sam Dyson (No. 11) and third baseman Pablo Sandoval (No. 15) also cracked the top 15. 

Now, this is just one list of potential options for buyers, and things change quickly this time of year. A team on the bubble -- the Padres or Diamondbacks, for instance -- could go on a losing streak and decide to clean house, adding players like Kirby Yates and Zack Greinke to the pitching market.

But for now, the Giants -- who fully intend to kickstart a rebuild with a flurry of trades -- appear to be holding a lot of the best cards. 

While Bumgarner is the bigger name, Smith actually could bring back the better prospect before the deadline. As a cheap left-handed closer with a perfect 18-for-18 record in the ninth this year, he would fit in any contender's bullpen. Smith could close or slide into the seventh or eighth, depending on a buyer's needs. 

[RELATED: Will Smith dominates despite dealing with trade rumors]

Bumgarner has been connected to the Yankees and Twins recently. He's throwing as well as he has in years, and will have another chance to show his stuff on Thursday against the NL-leading Dodgers.

Watson and Dyson could bolster a contending team's bullpen, and Sandoval -- who is owed just the MLB minimum by the Giants -- would be a nice addition for a team needing power off the bench. He has been the league's most dangerous pinch-hitter this season. 

Smith, Bumgarner and Sandoval are trade chips in part because they are free agents at the end of the season, but if the Giants really want to get creative they could dig deeper.

Reyes Moronta and Trevor Gott are cost-controlled right-handers with big arms and solid numbers this season, and both could be intriguing to winning teams looking for more than just an expensive rental.

MLB power rankings 2019: Twins challenge Dodgers, Astros in standings


MLB power rankings 2019: Twins challenge Dodgers, Astros in standings

Those Minnesota Twins just aren't going to slow down, are they? A sneaky contender early on, the Twins have spent the last month neck-and-neck with the Dodgers and Astros. It's too early to consider them quite as dominant as those other two, but they're going to run away with the AL Central and have plenty of time to make a move or two to bolster a playoff run. 

It's going to be tough regardless because the American League is LOADED. Four of the five best teams in the Majors by run differential are in the AL, and they show up in our top five, too. 

Here's the latest rundown of all 30 teams, with an emphasis on some familiar names ...