It was the fourth consecutive one-run game for the Dodgers tonight, but it didn’t end the way they’d like it to.
Juan Rivera hit a 2-2 slider for a home run off Guillermo Mota in the eighth, and Brian Fuentes shut the door in the ninth to earn his major-league leading 19th save as the Angels won 5-4.
The regular seventh or eighth-inning guy for the Dodgers, Ronald Belisario, was unavailable to come out of the bullpen tonight after appearing in all three games of the Oakland series, so Joe Torre decided to leave Mota in after he recorded the last two outs of the seventh.
Rivera fouled off six pitches in the at-bat and hit the home run on the ninth pitch from Mota. In talking to Rivera in the clubhouse, he said that taking all the pitches allowed him to get his timing really set by the time Mota delivered the fateful slider.
The defense was sharp for the Dodgers tonight — save for an errant pickoff attempt by Chad Billingsley in the third that eventually allowed Chone Figgins to score — but Billingsley wasn’t at his best. The 24-year-old ace went six innings but allowed six hits and a season-high five walks. He was charged with three earned runs in his failed bid for ten wins.
Angels lefthander Joe Saunders wasn’t at his best either, essentially matching Billingsley’s line with six and 1/3 innings pitched, six hits, and three walks, but the Dodgers couldn’t score off any of the Angels four relievers.
Weaver vs. Weaver tomorrow. Jeff and Jered, that is.