TORONTO -- Sometimes in baseball, all it takes is one mistake.Though in the eyes of Saturday's Giants starter Matt Cain, the mistake he committed was one that no pitcher should ever make -- a two-out walk.
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In a scoreless ballgame with two outs in the eighth inning, Cain walked former Giants outfielder Fred Lewis on four straight pitches for the Blue Jays' first baserunner of the inning. The next batter, struggling second baseman Aaron Hill, proceeded to send Cain into a state of deep regret, mashing a 1-1 fastball deep to left field and sending the Giants to an eventual 3-0 loss at Rogers Centre -- the seventh time San Francisco has been shut out this season.In spite of the obvious lack of run production, and the home run to Hill, all Cain could think about was the walk, and how he gave the Blue Jays a second life. "I just walked him," said Cain, responding to whether he was trying to be too fine with his pitches to Lewis. "I can't do that. Definitely can't do that with two outs -- that's what cost us. "At least try to give yourself a chance to get him to hit, not walk him on four pitches. Obviously, you saw what happened after that. You can't walk someone with two outs." While the outcome was not favorable for the Giants or Cain, the Blue Jays' hitters had nothing but praise for the 25-year -old right-hander. "All game, he was mixing his pitches in and out," Hill said. "He's been locating all year, and we knew he was a fastball pitcher. He's dominant with the fastball. You saw a lot of popups today, just getting guys off the end or jammed or whatnot. "Luckily we were able to get a run or two on the board there." Cain limited the Jays to only six hits over 7 2/3 innings of work. It was the sixth consecutive time he has pitched more than seven innings while surrendering three or fewer runs. Cain's ERA remains a sparkling 2.16 on the season, despite his mediocre 6-5 record. After Cain's departure, the Jays were able to tack on another run against reliever Santiago Casilla on an RBI single from shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Saturday's finish was eerily reminiscent of Friday's 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays in which Giants starter Barry Zito allowed an eighth-inning solo blast from Gonzalez to put the game out of reach. Moreover, the Blue Jays' defense, for the second straight night, robbed the Giants of any potential scoring opportunities. With no score and one out, shortstop Edgar Renteria, making his return to the Giants' lineup after missing 22 games with a strained right hamstring, attempted to jump-start the offense, hitting a double to the right-field wall. The following batter, catcher Bengie Molina, crushed a ball deep to right field that was caught by a lunging Jose Bautista -- saving a run. We hit a couple balls hard," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought Bengie's was going to get in the gap. That would have changed the game, but that's all you can do -- take a good swing, hit it hard, and [unfortunately] he ran it down." Despite entering Saturday's game with the National League's third-best batting average (.265), the Giants went a collective 4-for-30, hitting below .200 for the second time in two days. Rookie Buster Posey continued his recent struggles, going 0-for-3, and is now 0-for-11 in his past three games. His average has dipped from .361 to .310 during that span. "He wasn't going to stay at the pace he was at, you know that," Bochy said. "Throughout the lineup, we weren't hitting [Jays starter Jesse Litsch] today, so it wasn't just one guy. We had a tough time with him." Litsch, making his second Major League start since returning from Tommy John surgery, went seven innings, allowing only three hits and no walks. While many pitchers may criticize their team's lack of offense in a 3-0 loss, Cain, who has become accustomed to pitching in close ballgames, would only criticize himself -- and the mistakes he made. It comes down to one or two mistakes, and that's what's going to be the ballgame," Cain said. "You try not to be that guy. Today, I was that guy who made the mistakes, and they took advantage of it."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.