Sports

Padres' Richard outduels All-Star Lincecum

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Diego Padres returned to the place where last season’s collapse was completed. This time, they found a way to avoid another meltdown.

Will Venable hit his second home run of the season and the Padres pounced on Tim Lincecum in a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday, getting a small dose of satisfaction against the defending World Series champions.

The Giants eliminated the Padres from playoff contention on the final day of the 2010 season at AT&T Park. It was the culmination of a horrible finish that included a 10-game losing streak stretching into September.

“It had that same feel, tight game where they’re never out of it,” Venable said. “As good and consistent as our bullpen is, they always get it done against them. It always seems like they get a couple guys on base and make it interesting.”

San Diego built enough of a cushion to withstand the late push.

Chase Headley, Orlando Hudson and Ryan Ludwick each had an RBI off Lincecum (6-7) to chase the Giants’ ace after five innings. Nick Hundley added an RBI single in the eighth and Venable’s solo shot came in the ninth.

Clayton Richard (5-9) struck out two and gave up two hits and three walks in five innings. After two separate four-game losing streaks this season, the lefty has won three straight.

Heath Bell allowed a run in the ninth and put the potential tying runs in scoring position with one out. Then he got Andres Torres to fly out and Aaron Rowand to ground out for his 25th save.

The rally came too late for the Giants.

About the lone bright spot before the ninth was Pablo Sandoval, who hit a two-run homer into McCovey Cove and finished a triple shy of the cycle. He also extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games.

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