Adrian Gonzalez claims he never gets visibly excited.
But there he was at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, raising his arms and pounding his chest on the basepaths, celebrating his two-run walk-off double in the Dodgers' 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"These are fun moments, man," Gonzalez said. "They don't come too often, so you have to appreciate them and enjoy them."
Gonzalez was mobbed by teammates, who tore off his jersey. He traded high-fives with Manager Don Mattingly. He was embraced by Mark Walter, who marched over from the owner's box to join the festivities along the third base line.
For Gonzalez, the clutch hit offered a reprieve from the slump in which he had been mired since he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox eight days earlier. For the Dodgers, his line drive into the right-field corner against closer J.J. Putz inspired hope that they could be on the verge of embarking on a season-salvaging surge.
"I think it's a matter of time before this offense gets clicking on all cylinders," said outfielder Shane Victorino, who scored the winning run. "Hopefully, we can get to where we're scoring five to 10 runs a game. That's what we're capable of doing."
The Dodgers, who have won their last two games, probably would have to go on a run for the ages to overtake the first-place San Francisco Giants and win the National League West. The Dodgers remain 41/2 games behind the Giants, who also won Sunday.
If the Giants win only half of their remaining 28 games, the Dodgers would have to win 18 of their last 27 to tie them.
What makes this within the realm of possibility is that the Dodgers will face the Giants six more times: three games in San Francisco from Friday to Sunday and three in Los Angeles to close the regular season.
"We're 2-0 in September," Matt Kemp said. "We started the month off right. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
A more realistic target is the wild card. The Dodgers trail St. Louis by a half-game for the second of two NL wild-card spots. They are 31/2 behind wild-card leader Atlanta.
As the No. 3 hitter in the Dodgers' high-priced lineup, Gonzalez is being counted on to find his form.
He entered Sunday batting .182 with the Dodgers and was admittedly frustrated.
Gonzalez was at Dodger Stadium early in the morning to work in the batting cage. But that work didn't immediately translate into results.
Gonzalez struck out against starter Wade Miley in the first inning, grounded out in the third and struck out again in the sixth.
He was 0 for his last 12.
Then the baseball gods intervened.
Gonzalez hit a routine fly ball to right-center field in the seventh inning, only for Justin Upton to lose it in the sun. The ball dropped and Gonzalez had a double.
Hanley Ramirez said he told Gonzalez, "You're going to get going now."
Gonzalez had a similar premonition.
"Something like that happens, where the sun gets in the way, you're like, 'All right, there it is,'" Gonzalez said. "That made me kind of relax."
And Gonzalez thought that release of tension benefited him in the ninth inning, when he came to the plate with Mark Ellis on second base, Victorino on first and one out. The Dodgers were down, 4-3.
Gonzalez fouled back the first two pitches, then lined the third into the right-field corner.
Ellis scored easily, as did Victorino, who slid home feet-first to claim the victory.
The walk-off win was the Dodgers' first since Aug. 5.
The special occasion merited a special celebration.
As Gonzalez was interviewed by Prime Ticket's Steve Lyons, Aaron Harang blasted him from the dugout with a portable hose. That was nothing out of the ordinary. Harang does that to almost every player who is interviewed on the field after games.
But soon after, Kemp sneaked up behind and emptied a tub of water over Gonzalez.
"That was a pretty emotional win right there — we needed that," Kemp said. "Usually, we have pie with whipped cream or something, but we didn't have whipped cream. I didn't want to do shaving cream because that burns your eyes. I didn't mess his eyesight up."