SAN DIEGO (AP) - Last season, the San Diego Padres were battling for the NL West title before losing out on the last day of the regular season to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
One year later, the last-place Padres have to be content with spoiling the Giants' fading playoff hopes.
Aaron Harang threw seven strong innings and Cameron Maybin had two hits and an RBI as San Diego avoided a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.
The Giants, who have 19 games left, trail NL West-leading Arizona by seven games after the Diamondbacks beat Colorado 5-3 on Wednesday night. San Diego (62-81) trails Arizona by 20 games.
``That's the kind of intensity we have to bring day in and day out, no matter where we are in the standings,' Maybin said. ``We can make it tough on guys who come in here or if we are on the road, just not lay down.'
The intensity certainly showed on Maybin's sensational face-first catch against the fence in left-center field on the first batter of the game.
``The guys made some good plays from the first hitter of the game that kind of set the tone,' Harang said. ``It showed the intensity and excitement level that was going to happen.'
San Francisco rookie Brett Pill homered for a second straight game after he hit a home run Tuesday night in his first major league at-bat.
Will Venable had a solo homer and scored twice, while Maybin doubled and tripled in a run in the ninth.
The Padres got a second clutch defensive play from Venable.
Maybin made a long running catch while crashing into the wall to rob Justin Christian leading off the game. Maybin hit his forehead on the padded wall and was on the ground for about a minute before he got up and stayed in the game.
Venable threw out Pill at home in the seventh when the rookie tried to score on a medium fly ball to right by pinch-hitter Pat Burrell.
San Diego won for the second time in 13 games overall. The Padres had lost six of their previous seven home games against San Francisco.
Harang (13-5) broke a two-start losing streak by allowing one run and four hits in seven innings. Harang, who struck out three and walked three, is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts this season against the Giants, all at Petco Park.
``He's pitching to the score so often,' Padres manager Bud Black said. ``You could tell this was going to be a low scoring game and Aaron sensed it and pitched to it.'
Heath Bell got the final four outs for his 36th save in 40 chances. Bell replaced Chad Qualls in the eighth and threw one pitch to retire Carlos Beltran on a line drive to right with a runner on first and two outs.
Matt Cain (11-10) gave up two runs and four hits over seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three.
Cain, making his 200th career start, dropped to 8-19 lifetime against San Diego.
Venable led off the Padres' first with his seventh homer to right. It also extended his season club record for leadoff homers to five.
The home run was the third allowed by Cain in his last 20 starts. Overall, Cain has given up only eight homers.
Pill tied the game with a homer leading off the fifth. Pill joined John Bowker as the only two players in franchise history to homer in their first two major league games.
Pill homered off Wade LeBlanc on Tuesday night in his first major league at-bat, a two-run shot in the second inning of the Giants' 6-4 win.
The Padres took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Jesus Guzman singled in Maybin, who reached on a two-out double.
Notes: Cain has pitched 203 innings this season, the fifth straight season he has reached the 200-inning mark. ... Bowker homered in his major league debut on April 12, 2008, and again the next day. ... Black said after the game that INF Logan Forsythe would undergo surgery on his left knee on Thursday. Forsythe has not played since Friday with an inflamed patellar tendon in his right knee. But Black said Forsythe's left knee, surgically repaired in the offseason, starting bothering him midway through this season. ... After a day off, Giants RHP Tim Lincecum (12-12, 2.75 ERA) will attempt to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time this season in four starts (0-2, 1.86) on Friday to open a six-game homestand. LHP Clayton Kershaw (17-5, 2.45) pitches for the Dodgers. ... LHP Cory Luebke (5-8, 3.29) will start for the Padres on Thursday at Arizona, facing NL wins leader RHP Ian Kennedy (18-4, 2.96).
The Associated Press News Service
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