PHILADELPHIA -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence walked through the clubhouse seconds after Major League Baseball's trade deadline passed Wednesday afternoon, a huge smile on his face and both arms raised. Left-hander Javier Lopez soon followed, trying but failing to stifle a grin.
The reigning world champions held a different, more subdued kind of celebration on Wednesday, reacting joyfully to the news that Pence, Lopez, Tim Lincecum and all others were staying put after weeks of speculation. General manager Brian Sabean said the Giants never came close to trading the pending free agents, all three of whom Sabean wants to see in a Giants uniform next season.
"We've still got all our assets in the bank and in the organization, and we retained three guys we wanted to re-sign," Sabean said. "I'm pleased with the outcome."
Sabean set the price high on all three players and described the offers he received as "frustrating," "marginal" and "almost embarrassing."
"We were in a position to have some leverage, and we used the leverage," Sabean said. "We had specific returns in mind. People missed the mark -- people didn't even approach or get close to the mark."
The lack of movement means Sabean will keep together a group that beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 on Wednesday night but remains 12 games under .500. That was welcome news in the clubhouse, where both Pence and Lopez accepted congratulations from teammates and then reiterated their desire to re-sign with the Giants in the offseason. While Sabean was happy to still have his veterans in the fold, he cautioned that standing pat at the deadline wasn't the same as standing pat before next season.
"We're all going to have to take a step back and a deep breath and find out what went wrong (this season), why it went wrong, who we want to go forward with and how we add from the outside," Sabean said.
Sabean added that he needed to see positive momentum from a group that has lost 23 of 32 games, a message manager Bruce Bochy stressed before Wednesday's blowout win.
"It's critical that we do play better the rest of the year," Bochy said. "We can get back to being who we are. This is not the club that we are, I'm convinced of that. It's an aberration. We're all surprised (by the losing), but you put your big boy pants on, deal with it and go out and play."
The two newest Giants certainly had the "big boy pants" on Wednesday against the Phillies. Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick combined for five hits and six RBIs while hitting back-to-back in the lineup, just as they have for Triple-A Fresno most of the season. Pill hit his second homer of the year, and Kieschnick had an RBI single in his first big league at-bat.
"It's kind of a blur," Kieschnick said of his two-hit debut. "It was a lot of fun."
Pill and Kieschnick paced a lineup that scored four first-inning runs for the first time this season and went 6 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Even starting pitcher Chad Gaudin had an RBI single, snapping a 0-for-40 slump that was the longest hitless streak in the National League.
"You're going to run into one sooner or later," he said, smiling.
Brandon Crawford put a charge into a fastball late in the game, giving the Giants two homers after nine consecutive games without a dinger. The Giants had 14 hits in all, including two from Pablo Sandoval, who left the game with a bruised right heel but said he's likely to play Thursday.
"They finally broke out," Bochy said.
While crediting the newcomers, Bochy also said he thought his team was more relaxed after making it through the deadline intact.
"It's a good group," he said. "It's a tough group."
It's also a group that remains far out of contention, and finished July with an 8-17 record, a stretch that made it seem that Sabean would surely sell off pieces.
When the general manager instead chose to keep the status quo, the clubhouse exhaled. Asked why the scuffling team was so intent on staying together, Crawford shrugged.
"Pretty much the same team won the World Series last year," he said. "It's a pretty easy answer. We have a good group of guys."
Giants (Matt Cain 6-6) at Philadelphia (Cole Hamels 4-13), 4:05 p.m. CSNBA