Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gonzalez homers thrice off Cashner as Dodgers take series

Adrian Gonzalez went 4-for-4 with his first career three-homer game, giving him five home runs in the series, to power the Dodgers to a 7-4 win over the Padres Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Justin Upton followed a first-inning single by former Dodger Matt Kemp with a towering home run off Brandon McCarthy, but Gonzalez answered in the bottom of the inning with his first homer. The Dodgers took the lead with a three-run third inning off Andrew Cashner that included a bases-loaded walk to McCarthy and a Yonder Alonso error.
Will Middlebrooks also homered for San Diego off McCarthy, who struck out nine in five-plus innings of his Dodgers debut.
Gonzalez is the first player in MLB history to hit five home runs through his team's first three games of a season, according to Elias Sports. All three of Gonzalez's home runs came off Cashner. He also singled in a run off Frank Garces for a fourth RBI, going 10-for-13 in the series with seven RBIs. Kemp went 5-for-13 in the three games.
Another fast start: Scoring runs -- period -- was a big problem for the Padres in 2014, as they ranked last in the game (535 runs). Not so much this season, as the Padres scored four first-inning runs in the series -- one each on Monday and Tuesday and then two on Wednesday on Upton's home run.
Historic hitting: Gonzalez also joined Carl Furillo (1955) and Jimmy Wynn (1974) as the only Dodgers since 1914 to homer in the first three games of a season and is the only Dodger since at least 1914 to have three hits in each of the first three games of the season. The last National Leaguer to do it was Orlando Cepeda in 1963. More >
A forgettable second: The Padres would love a do-over on the second inning, as the Dodgers scored three runs on two hits and two walks with a fielding error and another bad throw with an overturned replay in the mix from the Padres fueling the inning. To make matters worse, Cashner walked McCarthy with the bases loaded to bring in a run. More >
Mixed outing for McCarthy: Although he struck out nine, McCarthy allowed two home runs and didn't retire any of the three batters he faced in the sixth inning, leaving the bullpen four innings of work to protect a two-run lead.
More >
"He's a hitter. He's a really polished, professional hitter who has power [and] the ability to hit for average, to use the whole field. He's got power, he drives in runs. He does it all."
-- Padres manager Bud Black before Gonzalez hit three home runs Wednesday.
"It's more like riding the wave and not hitting the home run. See the ball good, get a good pitch and hit the ball hard."
-- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on being in the home-run zone like Gonzalez
While it's true the Padres' offense -- the worst in baseball a year ago -- will score more runs this season, they will also strike out more, given the additions they've made. Before Wednesday, the Padres had struck out 19 times in the first two games. That's before McCarthy struck out nine hitters in his five innings.
The Dodgers won an umpire's review during a three-run second inning.
With one out and the bases loaded, Jimmy Rollins' grounder was fumbled by San Diego first baseman Alonso, who looked home before throwing to Cashner covering first base.
Umpire Hal Gibson called Rollins out for the second out of the inning. But Mattingly's challenge was upheld, putting Rollins on first base to load the bases with one out. .
Padres: The Padres play their home opener at 3:40 p.m. PT on Thursday at Petco Park against the Giants. The team's No. 4 starter, Ian Kennedy, gets the ball. He's had a lot of success against the Giants, going 9-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 20 starts against San Francisco since 2010, his first year in the National League with the D-backs.
Dodgers: Brett Anderson, whose velocity was down in his last Spring Training start against the Angels, makes his regular-season Dodgers debut against the D-backs on Friday at 6:40 p.m. PT at Chase Field, renewing the heated rivalry that saw four D-backs ejected in one game between the teams this spring.

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