SAN DIEGO -- After the worst regular season of his career, Tim Lincecum will get a prime opportunity for redemption.
Lincecum was roughed up again Sunday but didn't take a loss after his teammates rallied for a 7-5 Giants win over the San Diego Padres. The four earned runs charged to Lincecum boosted his ERA to 5.18 after his final start, but afterward he was eager to look forward to his next start, one that will come on a much bigger stage.
Lincecum said he has been told he will start a postseason game but hasn't been given specifics.
"I'm OK with anything," he said. "As long as I can help out the team in any way, that's all I'm looking for."
The Giants were looking for signs of progress from Lincecum, who gave up seven runs in his previous start. Lincecum gave up three home runs Sunday and left after six innings with a 5-2 deficit, but manager Bruce Bochy was happy with much of Lincecum's outing.
"I thought Timmy threw the ball better today," Bochy said. "Timmy has had a better second half. His last start he was out of sync, but today he was in a good rhythm. I thought he had good stuff today. He just made a couple of mistakes, and they took advantage."
Logan Forsythe hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and Yasmani Grandal and Chase Headley added solo shots. Lincecum said he felt that he threw more quality strikes Sunday and tipped his cap on the balls that were hit out of the park.
"With the exception of a couple of bad innings here, I've had some pretty good outings," he said. "That gives me some confidence going into the postseason to know that I'll be fine."
The Giants are hopeful that Lincecum can find some of his form from the 2010 postseason, when he won four games, including two in the World Series. Back then, Lincecum was the ace of the staff, but times have changed. While Matt Cain put up a season worthy of Cy Young Award consideration, Lincecum has the highest ERA among qualifying National League starters. He was looking at his 16th loss Sunday until Xavier Nady and Hunter Pence hit ninth-inning homers.
"I understand that with the way that I have been going this year, that (being the No. 1 guy) is not going to be the case in the postseason," Lincecum said. "If I can find my way in there and get what I can, when I can, that's all that matters to me.
"If I can execute and focus and make pitches when I need to, I'll be fine."
The Giants didn't execute for much of the day Sunday. Brandon Belt was thrown out at home after inexplicably going back to tag up at third base on a single to right, and a throwing error by Hector Sanchez led to a Padres run. The Giants left the bases loaded in the second inning and scored just once in the fourth inning despite three hits and two walks.
But the Giants scored two runs in the eighth to cut the deficit to 5-4, setting the stage for Nady, who was robbed of a homer by a leaping Cameron Maybin on Saturday. He hit a no-doubter to right-center field with one out in the ninth inning Sunday, tying the game. After Francisco Peguero singled, Pence hit a two-run shot to help clinch another series victory on the road. The Giants are 10-0-1 in road series in the second half, their longest undefeated streak since 1959.
They have played sloppy baseball at times since clinching the National League West on Sept. 22, but Nady said Sunday's come-from-behind win coupled with a looming series with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers will be more than enough to get the Giants on track in time for the postseason.
Sunday's results locked the Giants into the No. 3 seed in the National League, and they'll open the postseason with two home games against either the Cincinnati Reds or Washington Nationals, starting Saturday.
"With this group, I don't think anyone is worried," Nady said. "This group will be ready."
The Giants will keep all five starting pitchers on the postseason staff, sending one of them to the bullpen. Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Jose Mijares are locks to make the 25-man roster, with Guillermo Mota and George Kontos likely fighting for the final bullpen spot if Bochy goes with 11 pitchers.
Giants (Matt Cain 16-5) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Aaron Harang 10-10), 7:10 p.m. CSNBA