Defensive miscues don't help Blue Jays' cause

Defensive miscues don't help Blue Jays' cause

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Blue Jays scratched and clawed their way back into Wednesday afternoon's game against the Giants but in the end it wasn't quite enough to compensate for a rough day on defense.

Troy Tulowitzki made a pair of costly errors, Russell Martin couldn't get an out on a sacrifice bunt in the 13th inning and Ryan Tepera issued a walk-off walk in a 5-4 loss to San Francisco. The Blue Jays did rally from three runs down in the eighth but still fell short.

Tulowitzki's first error resulted in a pair of runs but manager John Gibbons was quick to defend his big-name shortstop. Toronto's clubhouse was understandably frustrated after the 13-inning loss and Gibbons was not about to let any criticism fly Tulowitzki's way.

"I'm not going to sit here and talk about Tulo not hitting, not fielding or anything like that," Gibbons told a group of reporters. "The guys played a good game out there. They battled, we came back to tie it against a good pitching staff, we battled our [butt] off. We came up short and they have a good team over there. I'm not going to pick on who didn't do what."

Tulowitzki's two-error game was his first since April 17, 2012, a span of 401 games. He began his Blue Jays career by going 59 games without an error, but since April 26, Tulowitzki has committed six.

The first happened with one runner on and nobody out in the second. Conor Gillaspie hit a tailor-made double-play grounder to Tulowitzki but the ball bounced off his glove and all runners were safe. Instead of two outs with the bases empty, the Giants built off the momentum and scored two unearned runs.

Martin's risky play in the 13th opened the door for the walk-off win. With a runner on first, Denard Span laid down a bunt and Martin opted to try for the out at second base. His throw bounced in the dirt and Tulowitzki could not come up with the difficult play.

Span's bunt turns into single

"It was definitely a frustrating game," starter Marcus Stroman said. "Just have to do everything in your power to focus on the now and do everything you can to keep your team in a position to win. Unfortunately we didn't come out with the win, but we battled."

Despite all of the issues, Toronto can take some solace in rallying to force extras. Martin had a sacrifice fly and Justin Smoak had an RBI single in the eighth before Michael Saunders tied the game with a solo shot in the ninth.

Saunders' game-tying homer

The Blue Jays dropped to 3-8 in one-run games. That's the difference between a team that is currently at .500 (18-18) and one that could be sitting at the top of the American League East.

"It's tough, I know that we could have probably had a couple of more wins at this point," Saunders said. "We're not going to lose them for the rest of the season. Things are eventually going to turn. ... We were down by three, able to battle back tonight and push it into whatever inning it was. Good signs, but we're not going to lose these one-run games every time."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.