SAN FRANCISCO - Even though the game looked more like one played in March instead of late September, Padres closer Huston Street will have pleasant memories of Sunday's contest.
Street earned the 200th save of his career, pitching for the first time since Aug. 10, as San Diego snapped the Giants' six-game winning streak, 6-4, less than 24 hours after San Francisco danced on the same field in celebration of clinching a second division title in three seasons.
Street entered the ninth with a three-run lead, but quickly got into trouble after walking two batters to load the bases with one out. He retired pinch-hitter Buster Posey on a run-scoring ground out and enduced Ryan Theriot to line out to center to end it.
"Huston might have been a touch rusty, but I think for the most part he worked his way through a three-run-lead save," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "There's a lot of different ways to get it done and he got it done."
Street didn't agree with Black's assessment that rust was a factor. But he knew he needed to dig down deep after walking pinch-hitter Hunter Pence on four pitches and issuing a full-count walk to Hector Sanchez to set the stage for a Posey showdown.
"To walk Pence there on four pitches is just bad baseball," said Street, whose shutout streak was snapped at 22 innings. "At the same time you just have to battle through it and I kind of got all the feelings there in one inning."
Street fell behind Posey as well, but got one of the league's hottest hitters to swing and miss on a high fastball to set up a two-strike slider. Posey hit that ball on the ground to third base, and Street felt fortunate.
"I thought he might be sitting on it, but with two strikes he's got to protect," Street said. "I knew I'd have a good chance at a ground ball and thankfully he hit one because he can hit good pitches as well."
The Padres broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the seventh inning when Yonder Alonso's one-out, bases-loaded single to left-center field scored Everth Cabrera and Logan Forsythe. Cabrera had a big day at the plate with four hits and a walk. He stole two bases, too.
San Diego tacked two more on in the eighth after two were out, a rally highlighted by Mark Kotsay hitting his second homer of the season as a pinch-hitter and Cabrera racing home following an errant throw in an effort to thwart his 37th steal of the base.
"A lot of contributions from a number of guys," Black said.
Having clinched the National League West title the night before, the Giants' lineup on Sunday looked straight out of spring training. Leadoff hitter and center fielder Gregor Blanco was the lone familiar face among the starting nine.
Manager Bruce Bochy scratched original starting pitcher Tim Lincecum in favor of 27-year-old right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, who made his first big-league start since September of 2009 while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lincecum is now set to start Tuesday's game against the visiting Diamondbacks following Monday's off-day.
Bochy delivered the news late Saturday after the Giants' clincher as Lincecum had already left the park to get rest for the day-time start following a night game.
"I feel bad we didn't tell Timmy earlier so he didn't miss out, but that's hard to do," Bochy said.
The manager suggested things should look normal again at the outset of his team's next series.
"It's good to be in a position to do this, but we still want to win games," Bochy said. "It will be pretty close to the regular lineup with the occasional day off. I think two days off will serve these guys well."
As much as the Giants would like to catch Cincinnati and Washington for a more favorable home-field set-up in the postseason, Bochy said he won't make that his top priority.
"There's a fine line there wearing guys down to try to catch teams in front of you," he said. "It'd be nice but we're not going to sacrifice wearing guys down."
As far as the players are concerned, no one is quite sure how to balance rest versus rust.
"Every guy is different," Posey said. "You want to stay sharp but you also have an opportunity to get some rest. I don't know what the perfect formula is."
NOTES: Yasmani Grandal batted cleanup and made his 45th start behind the plate for the Padres. Including Nick Hundley (56) and John Baker (50), the Padres have three catchers with 40 or more starts for the first time since 1993. ...The Giants are off on Monday before hosting Arizona on Tuesday for the first of three games. Arizona's Tyler Skaggs (1-3) is set to oppose Lincecum (10-14). ... Following Monday's off-day, the Padres open their final homestand of the season with the first of three games against Los Angeles on Tuesday when Edinson Volquez (10-11) will oppose Josh Beckett (1-2) for the Dodgers.