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Mota finishes out one-hitter

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A suggestion by bench coach Jim Riggleman may
have cost the Dodgers' Wilson Alvarez a perfect game.

When Chris Stynes came to the plate leading off the sixth inning
Friday night, Riggleman told second baseman Jose Hernandez to move
moved a few steps toward second base.

Stynes hit a hard grounder into the hole between first and
second baseman, and Hernandez could only knock it down, unable to
make a throw. Stynes was Pittsburgh's only runner of the game, and
Alvarez combined with Guillermo Mota on a one-hitter, leading Los
Angeles over the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0.

"He usually hits the ball the other way," Hernandez said.
"Riggs told me to move a little bit toward the bag, so I did. I
tried to make a play, but the ball just hit my glove. I didn't have
a chance."

Alvarez (1-0), who threw 85 pitches, struck out five over seven
innings in his first start since a 12-3 loss at San Francisco last
Sept. 28. He had a 2.16 ERA and one save out of the bullpen this
season.

Alvarez wasn't even thinking about his chance to pitch a perfect
game.

"I looked at the scoreboard and said, `Hey, that's the first
hit,' he said. "I just want to get my job done and we win the
game."

Alvarez doesn't care if he starts or relieves.

"If they want me in the bullpen, I'll do it. I just want to
win," he said.

Stynes was sacrificed to second but was stranded when Tike
Redman grounded out.

"You can't pitch any better than Wilson Alvarez did for the
seven innings he was out there," Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy
said. "To command the rectangle of the strike zone and carry out a
game plan like that ... you can't do it any better."

Hernandez homered twice and had three hits and three RBI for
the Dodgers, who got their second shutout this season. Pittsburgh,
which lost its fourth straight, was blanked for the second time.

"He knows how to work both sides of the plate," the Pirates'
Jason Kendall said of Alvarez. "He changes speeds, he keeps the
ball down. He knows how to pitch."

Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon, whose team scored just seven
runs while being swept in Houston earlier this week, praised
Alvarez but said the Pirates helped him.

"He threw a good ballgame, but we just didn't swing the bats at
all," McClendon said. "It wasn't much of an effort on our part.
He hit his spots, but we can hit the ball better than that. The
fact is, we're in a funk right now."

Tracy was able to give Hideo Nomo, Saturday's scheduled starter,
an extra day off by giving Alvarez the start.

"There's a health history there, and our plan was to bring that
situation along slowly, knowing at some point in time we were going
to insert him," Tracy said of Alvarez. "In actuality, we're right
where we want to be with that."

Oliver Perez (2-1) struck out eight in eight innings, allowing
six hits and two walks.

Hernandez, who entered with one homer this season, had a solo
shot in the second and a two-run drive in the in the seventh. It
was his seventh multihomer game, his first since July 14, 2002,
against Pittsburgh.

"There were two pitches I made mistakes with, and I paid for
it," Perez said.

Cesar Izturis led off the game with a triple over Rob Mackowiak
along the right-field line and scored on Paul Lo Duca's grounder.

Game notes
The Pirates pulled cleanup hitter Raul Mondesi from the
starting lineup for personal reasons, and GM David Littlefield said
after the game that Mondesi was returning home to be with his
family. "We support that decision," Littlefield said. "He's
going to assess the situation when he gets to the Dominican
Republic and we'll talk to him on a daily basis." ... The game was
the first of 12 straight for the Pirates against NL West teams. ...
Los Angeles is in stretch of 21 games in which it plays 15 times on
the road.