SAN DIEGO -- Matt Cain and Tyson Ross made it look easy Friday night at Petco Park. For Cain, all that meant was another defeat that was very hard to swallow.
The Giants bats stayed cold in a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres that came just six days after Cain took a 1-0 loss against the Colorado Rockies. Friday's loss was the seventh in Cain's career in which he allowed just one run, and the second when he did not allow an earned run.
"Sometimes that's just the way it goes," the veteran said, shrugging his shoulders. "Guys are doing their job and you can't sneak any across. That's part of it."
Cain learned long ago that there's no sense placing blame after one disheartening loss in a 162-game season, but it was easy to pinpoint the turning point Friday. With Chris Denorfia on third base in the first inning, Cain pulled a changeup that sailed outside to Jedd Gyorko. Hector Sanchez didn't react quickly enough, and the passed ball allowed Denorfia to score the only run charged to the starting pitchers.
Sanchez went 0 for 4 and struck out for the third time with two outs and the tying run on second in the ninth. He was despondent at his locker after the game, staring at his feet as several teammates came over and offered words of support. Sanchez said there was no excuse for the passed ball.
"I've got to catch that ball," he said. "I feel bad, because it's probably a different story if I catch it."
Twenty minutes after he swung through a Huston Street fastball to end the game, Sanchez said he couldn't bring himself to watch a replay of the passed ball.
"I'd probably (break) the computer," he said, pointing at the collection of screens across the room. "In that situation you have to be ready no matter the pitch or what he throws. You have to stop it, that's your job. There's nothing I can say. I thought that in that moment, I caught it."
The moment was far from the only one that cost the Giants the game. They were 7 for 47 with runners in scoring position over the previous six games and went 0 for 9 against Ross and Street. Manager Bruce Bochy said he sees several players pressing at the plate.
"They're big boys," he said. "They've got to fight through this."
Against Ross, that almost didn't seem an option.
The 26-year-old former Bishop O'Dowd High-Oakland star is coming into his own and was every bit Cain's equal, striking out nine in eight shutout innings. Ross struck out four straight at one point and had allowed just three base runners through six innings while throwing 72 pitches. Pablo Sandoval led off the seventh with a single and Hunter Pence followed with a walk, but Sanchez hit into a double play and Brandon Crawford lined out to short.
Bochy had given Michael Morse (minor hamstring tightness) and Buster Posey (rest) a night off, but both pinch-hit in the eighth inning. Ross got Morse to ground out and then struck out Posey and Angel Pagan.
"He kept us off balance and had good stuff," Bochy said of Ross. "He shut it down. He's always had a good arm, and he just threw some quality strikes. Any pitch at any time. It's good stuff, and he's tall with a good angle on the ball. He's going to be tough on hitters."
Cain was, too. He struck out six of eight at one point and left with the exact same sparkling line -- seven innings, four hits, eight strikeouts -- for the second time in seven days. All he got for the effort was a second straight tough decision, albeit with a slightly different score. Yasmani Grandal's homer off Juan Gutierrez in the eighth made it 2-0 but Brandon Belt got a run back with a solo homer in the ninth, clinching an eighth straight one-run game for the Giants, their longest such streak since 1910. Cain has given up one earned run during the streak and lost twice.
"It was the same game, really," Bochy said of Cain's last two efforts. "The same thing. We couldn't get a win the last two games even with the way he's throwing the ball."
Giants (Tim Hudson 2-0)
at San Diego (Eric Stults 0-2),
5:40 p.m. CSNBA