SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants might appear buried in the National League West, but San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers is treating them like a villain in a horror flick.

They're not really dead.

"I don't see the Giants staying 10 games or more out," said Towers on Monday as the Padres arrived at AT&T Park for a three-game series. "They'll narrow the gap on the rest of us. I just hope it doesn't happen in the next three days."

The Giants began play Monday in last place in the NL West, 10 games under .500 and 11 behind the front-running Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the Giants' largest deficit through 74 games since 1991, when they were 121/2 out.

But Towers sees the Giants' pitching and believes they have a winning streak in them -- probably in time to make Giants GM Brian Sabean a buyer instead of a seller at the July 31 trade deadline.

"Knowing Sabes, I've never known him to be a seller," Towers said. "I don't see it happening unless they are right at the deadline and haven't picked up any ground, still 10 or 15 back. But I'd be very surprised if they were sellers in the next 30 days."

Towers said Sabean always has stuck out among rival GMs, and he considered the Giants the team he had to find a way to beat.

Even if the Giants must rebuild, possibly with another GM, Towers said it probably wouldn't be long before the club is competitive again.

"They've got the type of rotation already in place," Towers said. "The tough thing is putting together your pitching staff first."

Beck remembered

The Giants held a moment of silence for former pitcher Rod Beck, who died unexpectedly at his home in Phoenix on Saturday.

The Beck family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children's Program at the Betty Ford Center, 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, 92270, or the Teammates for Kids Foundation, 7851 S. Elati St. Suite 200, Littleton, Colo., 80120.

While authorities have not released the cause of death, Towers said Beck battled substance abuse and some members of the Padres organization "tried to do an intervention" when he deteriorated in 2004.

"We went through the same thing with (Ken) Caminiti," Towers said. "I was hoping it wouldn't come to this. I had a little bit of fear a couple years ago when he was sent to rehab ... if he ever got out of the game, not having a support group around him, how he would handle it."

-- Andrew Baggarly, MediaNews staff