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Cain improves mechanics before losing focus

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Cain insisted he felt better this time on the mound, though the numbers didn't say so.

In his two-inning appearance Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cain allowed three runs and five hits, exceeding the two runs and three hits he yielded last Saturday in another pair of innings against the Chicago Cubs. Yet Cain felt smoother the second time around.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Cain insisted he felt better this time on the mound, though the numbers didn't say so.

In his two-inning appearance Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cain allowed three runs and five hits, exceeding the two runs and three hits he yielded last Saturday in another pair of innings against the Chicago Cubs. Yet Cain felt smoother the second time around.

"Today I felt I was able to locate the ball a little better," said Cain, who received no decision in the Giants' 7-6 Cactus League loss. "I felt a little better mechanically."

That didn't explain Los Angeles' four consecutive two-out hits in the second inning that generated all the runs Cain surrendered. Cain, San Francisco's former staff ace who's competing for the No. 5 starting spot, owns a 9.00 ERA in two appearances. Left-hander Ty Blach, another fifth-starter contender, followed Cain to the mound and struck out two in two hitless innings. Blach has a 2.25 ERA in a pair of outings.

"I got a little sloppy with the focus and really nailing down pitches where I wanted to put them," Cain said. "Guys are going to take advantage of that. I've got to do a better job of not getting out of rhythm and too ahead of myself."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain