SAN FRANCISCO -- If nothing else, Scott Hairston has proven his value. He has marketed himself as one of the most desirable right-handed bench bats in all of baseball.
Whether that results in a last-minute change of plans remains to be seen.
Long considered the most likely Met to find a new home prior to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Hairston hit a game-tying two-run homer and a game-winning solo shot in the Mets' 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Giants on Monday, proving yet again how valuable he could be to a contender -- and how indispensable he is to the Mets.
"I'm really hoping he's in our uniform and I have no reason to think he won't be," manager Terry Collins said. "I know that if he's moved, it's for a piece that's going to genuinely help us, make us get better. And I hope he's still here."
Minutes after the Giants plated two runs to tie the game in the ninth, and two innings after he capped a late comeback with a two-run homer against Sergio Romo, Hairston led off the 10th with a solo shot against Giants closer Santiago Casilla. Manny Acosta then did what Bobby Parnell and Josh Edgin could not, allowing a run in the 10th but recording a shaky three-out save.
"It was a wild game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "A lot of things happened in that game, a lot of little things."
It was certainly a stressful way to win, particularly considering Hairston's status with the club. After pacing the Mets with a pair of run-scoring doubles in Sunday's victory over the D-backs, Hairston admitted that it has been difficult to ignore all the trade rumors swirling around him. Multiple contenders could use a right-handed bat off the bench, and Hairston's is one of the best in the game.
But for weeks, general manager Sandy Alderson has said that he will not "give away" Hairston, preferring to deal him only if a team offers an overwhelming prospect in return. That has not happened, and prior to Monday's game, Collins flatly said "no" when asked if he expected the Mets to make a trade prior to Tuesday's Deadline.
Then he, like Hairston, concerned himself with the game.
"I'm expecting to be in the dugout [Tuesday]," Hairston said. "But I can't foresee the future."
The Mets might have won earlier in the night had Parnell managed to lock down his fourth save in six chances with regular closer Frank Francisco on the disabled list. But after Parnell allowed one man to score and put the tying run on third base with one out in the ninth, Collins turned to the rookie Edgin to finish off the inning.
Though Edgin coaxed a ground ball out of Nate Schierholtz, first baseman Ike Davis misplayed it into a double to allow the tying run to score. Edgin then loaded the bases on a walk and another hit before freezing Marco Scutaro on a 3-2 fastball to force extra innings.
"I just wanted to help Bobby out and get out of the inning," said Edgin, who picked up his first career win. "It didn't work out like it should have, but it happens."
It was like that all night for the Mets. Starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner made the pitch he needed to escape a sixth-inning jam, inducing a ground ball to second base with two men aboard. But Ronny Cedeno bobbled it, allowing a run to score on what could have been an inning-ending double play. The next two batters then both rapped out singles, with Ryan Theriot's knock giving the Giants a two-run cushion.
Other than that, Hefner held his own against the Giants, allowing his only other runs on Scutaro's sacrifice fly in the third inning and Melky Cabrera's RBI single in the fifth. Making his second start in place of the injured Johan Santana, Hefner lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits and three walks. He struck out five.
To pin too much blame on Cedeno, however, would be to ignore the full box score. Making a rare start at second base, Cedeno gave the Mets their only runs off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner with a two-run double in the fourth, plating Hairston and Jason Bay. Two innings later, Bay singled to snap an 0-for-23 skid at the plate.
The Mets could certainly use more offense out of Bay, considering he -- like everyone else in the visiting clubhouse -- should be around long after Tuesday's Trade Deadline passes.
For much of the early season, it seemed likely that the Mets would swing a Deadline deal for a reliever. Until the All-Star break, they had a Wild Card berth well within their grasp, despite their glaring weakness in the bullpen.
But circumstances changed rapidly in the two weeks following the break. The Mets lost 13 of their first 15 games of the second half, sinking from legitimate contention to murky uncertainty and altering how Alderson viewed the Trade Deadline. Without the strong possibility of October baseball, sacrificing prospects for short-term bullpen help no longer made sense.
But sacrificing a player like Hairston for marginal prospects also did not appeal to the Mets. Now, with hours to go before the Deadline, only a last-minute offer from a contending team can change their minds.
"It's always good to be liked, to be wanted," Hairston said. "I'm happy about that. Better than the other way around."