Asked a question about his 12th- and 13th-inning collapse that cost the Dodgers the final game of their three-game series with the San Francisco Giants, Guillermo Mota responded with a question of his own: Why was it that reporters only talk to relief pitchers when they lose games?
"It's hard for us," Mota said. "The press always waits for something bad to happen to us."
"Something bad" was certainly a way to describe what happened to Mota Sunday, as he gave up a go-ahead run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Rich Aurilia in the 12th inning and coughed up two more runs on a single by Randy Winn in the 13th, sending the Dodgers to a 7-5 defeat in the last game of their season-long 11-game homestand.
Wasted was a 12th-inning solo home run by Casey Blake that tied the score. Mota, whose earned-run average rose to 7.42, has two wins to his name but otherwise hasn't had many high points this season. "I feel that I'm a better pitcher than that," Mota said. "If they give me the opportunity, I'll get better."
Mota blossomed into a standout setup man in his first go-around with the Dodgers from 2002 to 2004, but his career stalled after he was traded to the Florida Marlins.
As a member of the New York Mets, he was suspended for the first 50 games of 2007 for violating baseball's drug policy, which he won't talk about.
Mota agreed with Manager Joe Torre's assessment that he has had issues with command, blaming the problem on inconsistencies in his delivery that he said he's trying to fix by watching video.
Is it time to rename Mannywood?
Juan Pierre was three for five with three runs Sunday, raising his average to .563 in the four games he has started in left field since Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy.
"When I wasn't playing I was staying as prepared as possible," said Pierre, who started only five games before Ramirez's suspension.
Of how he was an everyday player as recently as two years ago, he said, "At least this isn't foreign territory."
His greater acceptance this year of his status as the Dodgers' fourth outfielder has helped, he said.
"You just have a free mind out there and you aren't thinking about stuff you can't control," said Pierre, who was two for two with a double and a walk against Giants starter Tim Lincecum, the reigning Cy Young Award winner.
Asked if he heard that someone launched a site called juanpierrewood.com, Pierre laughed.
"I think somebody told me that," he said.
"In the past, blogs and websites kill me. I stay away from them."
Giants closer Brian Wilson was furious with Blake after the game, according to the websites for the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News.
The newspapers reported that one of Wilson's friends sent him an image of Blake mocking the cross-armed gesture he makes after every save.
The gesture is a tribute to Wilson's religious faith and to his late father. Wilson got the win Sunday after blowing a save.
Hiroki Kuroda threw off a mound for the first time since being put on the disabled list because of a strained side muscle on April 11. He reported feeling no discomfort in his side in the light 25-pitch session and is scheduled to travel with the Dodgers on their upcoming trip, where he is expected to throw a couple more bullpen sessions.