SAN FRANCISCO -- For the second night in a row, San Francisco Giants fans honored a longtime favorite possibly making his last start for the franchise.
Both sold-out celebrations ended as most Giants fans would dream -- with a win over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
Angel Pagan belted reliever Paco Rodriguez's third pitch for a home run leading off the eighth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending San Francisco to a 3-2 win over the Dodgers in what might have been Tim Lincecum's final game as a Giant on Thursday night.
One inning after Lincecum, a pending free agent, left to a standing ovation, Pagan hit a line drive down the left field line that appeared destined for a double when it hit the top of the wall. However, the ball's momentum carried it into the runway near the left field bleachers, giving Pagan his fifth homer of the season.
Rodriguez (3-3) was pitching for the first time in eight days. He took over for Chris Withrow, who faced only six batters in preserving the 2-2 tie in the sixth and seventh innings after replacing Dodgers starter Edinson Volquez.
"Paco's all right," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said when asked if the reliever's lack of recent use was an indication of an arm problem. "He got a pitch up. That's it. Other than that, he was fine.
"He needed to get back out there."
The loss almost assuredly secured the No. 3 National League playoff position for the Dodgers (91-68), who trail the St. Louis Cardinals (94-65) and Atlanta Braves (94-65) by three games apiece with three games to go in the regular season.
Unless the Dodgers sweep their three-game series against the Colorado Rockies this weekend and either the Cardinals or Braves are swept in their remaining games, Los Angeles will enter the NL Divisional Series as the third seed and open on the road against the runner-up in the race for the league's best record.
Mattingly clearly can't wait for the postseason, no matter where it is to begin.
"I can say I'd like to see this and I'd like to see that," he said after his club concluded a 5-5, three-city trip. "But it's all about how we execute (in Game 1) next Thursday."
In clinching their first winning month since May, the Giants rallied from a 2-0 deficit as Lincecum settled down after a shaky start.
The seven-year Giant completed seven innings, allowing just the two early runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out six.
The 2008 and '09 Cy Young Award winner finished 2013 with a 10-14 record and 4.37 ERA, both far cries from his 89-70 and 3.46 marks over his San Francisco stint.
"It felt like the last game of the season, nothing more," Lincecum said. "I was focused on trying to get the win tonight."
Sensing the 29-year-old right-hander might have thrown his final pitch of the season, the sellout crowd gave Lincecum a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout after retiring the Dodgers in order in the top of the seventh.
The 41,221 were right. Johnny Monell pinch-hit for Lincecum in the last of the seventh, and when the Giants didn't score in the inning, the pending free agent -- like Dodgers starter Volquez -- finished with a no-decision.
Lincecum joked about the fans' response, which included a loud ovation following what turned out to be his final plate appearance.
"That was probably one of the best sacrifice bunts I've had in my life," he said with a laugh.
The no-decision kept Lincecum from potentially adding to an unwanted distinction. He leads all major league pitchers in losses in the past two seasons with 29.