PHILADELPHIA -- Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, meeting with the media in the tunnel outside the clubhouse, was offered every possible excuse for his disappointing performance in an 11-0 loss to the Phillies on Sunday.
Neck bothering him?
"Honestly, it didn't bother me at all," Kuroda said through a professional interpreter.
"Not a reason ... the environment was the same for everybody," Kuroda said.
"I don't think that was a reason," Kuroda said. "They put me on the mound, I have to come through and I didn't. That was no excuse."
Kuroda declined all excuses after he allowed six runs over 1 1/3 innings in a Game 3 loss that put the Dodgers down 2-1 to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.
"Obviously it was a disappointing game," Kuroda said. "Everybody knew it was a critical game. Everybody expected to win, everybody expected me to win, I needed to come through and I didn't. I need to close the book and start a new chapter. I still hope to pitch again in this series."
HIT THE SHOWERS
Hiroki Kuroda is the 13th Dodgers starter to fail to pitch at least two innings in a playoff game. Here are the previous 12:
Kuroda was making his first start since Sept. 28. He missed his last start of the regular season because of a sore neck caused by a small herniation in his cervical spine. He threw 49 pitches in a simulated game in Arizona last Tuesday and manager Joe Torre felt confident about pitching him ahead of Randy Wolf in Game 3.
I don't second-guess the decision because we made it on what we saw, and his bullpen was good for this start," said Torre, who watched Kuroda pitch in Arizona last week. "The bullpen today coming into the game was good. He came into the game, and he just didn't -- the ball didn't behave. That's basically all I can tell you about that.
"If it was a rust situation, it wouldn't have shown up the way it did, I don't think, because he threw strikes, nothing but strikes, when I saw him. And as I say, he was commanding the ball in both bullpens."
Kuroda didn't walk a batter, but said, "I think I made it harder on myself because I couldn't throw first-pitch strikes."
Kuroda started the game by getting Jimmy Rollins on a fly to right. But singles by Shane Victorino and Chase Utley put runners on the corners and Ryan Howard followed with a two-run triple into the right-field corner.
Jayson Werth then jumped on a 2-1 fastball and blasted it over the center-field wall for a two-run home run. The Phillies led, 4-0. Kuroda had faced five batters and already allowed as many runs as he had in four previous career starts over 25 innings against the Dodgers.
"He had good life on his fastball," catcher Russell Martin said. "He just didn't have command. Anytime you give up four runs in the first inning, it's not a good feeling. You know you have an uphill battle, especially with the other guy [Cliff Lee] on the mound."
Kuroda didn't make it through the second. Carlos Ruiz led off with a double, Lee bunted him to third and Rollins followed with an RBI double. Torre then went to the mound to get his pitcher after just 10 batters.
"I think it's just one of those days, whether it was cold weather or whatever," Torre said. "Health-wise, I think he's good. If he's not, we'll let you know tomorrow when I find something out. But he didn't seem to have any issue. No excuses, put it that way. He just didn't pitch well."
Kuroda himself made that clear.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.