Alvarez, Mota One-Hit Pirates

Taking advantage of his first start of 2004, Wilson Alvarez pitched seven scoreless one-hit innings and the Dodgers posted a 4-0 victory. Second baseman Jose Hernandez, hitting .355 coming into the series, banged a pair of home runs to provide all the offense Alvarez needed to win his first of the season and his 99th major league game. Pittsburgh third baseman Chris Stynes ended Alvarez's bid for a perfect game with a leadoff single in the sixth inning.

Alvarez (1-0), made a strong bid for a permanent spot in the rotation, retiring the first 15 Pittsburgh batters. He was selected to make the start because the Pirates were batting just .238 against left-handers, had appeared in eight games in relief this year, with a 2.16 earned run average in 16.2 innings.

In the last of the sixth, coach Jim Riggleman instructed second baseman Jose Hernandez to move two steps closer to second base. Stynes then smacked a grounder between first and second. Hernandez ranged far to his left and managed to get his glove on the ball, but it rolled into short right field for a hit, spoiling Alvarez's bid for what would have been his second career no-hitter. He cut his ERA for the season to 1.52.

Alvarez quickly retired the next five before turning it over in the eighth to Guillermo Mota, who set down the final six in a row to close it out.

Alvarez had all the run support he needed before he threw a pitch. Cesar Izturis led off the game with a triple into the right-field corner and scored when Paul Lo Duca grounded out to shortstop.

Hernandez made it 2-0 in the second with a two-out homer that just cleared the center-field wall. After Adrian Beltré led of the seventh with a single, Hernandez homered again with one out, this time over the scoreboard in right field, making it 4-0 Alvarez worked with brilliant efficiency, throwing 57 strikes in 85 pitches with outstanding command of all his pitches. He had five strikeouts and the game was over in 2 hours 8 minutes.

After joining the rotation last season, Alvarez won six consecutive decisions, in 10 starts, with a 1.39 earned-run average during that span. He had a scoreless streak of 25 innings, so the Dodgers weren't shocked by Friday's performance.

Alvarez will get at least one more start, on Friday night against Cincinnati. If he is as dominating against the Reds, Tracy might consider going with five starters to keep Alvarez on a regular turn.

The last Dodger one-hitter was by Odalis Perez in June, 2002, winning 4-2.

Dodger Blue Notes--Left fielder and leadoff batter Dave Roberts went on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right hamstring, and the club recalled second baseman Joe Thurston from triple-A Las Vegas to take Roberts' spot on the 25-man roster. A hamstring problem hampered Roberts throughout the 2003 season, limiting him to 107 games. Moreover, the Dodgers were already short-handed on the bench while carrying 12 pitchers on the roster. ... Catcher Todd Hundley, who has been on the disabled list since April 3 recovering from back surgery, will undergo hip surgery next Tuesday. Hundley was experiencing some discomfort in his hip and has a labral tear that is going to require surgery. He will be operated by the same surgeon that did Darren Dreifort's surgery.

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