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Adrian Gonzalez finally turns the power back on

Dodgers Notes

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez ends a 25-game home run drought, going deep twice during the Dodgers' 5-3 win at Cincinnati. He hadn't homered since Aug. 26.

September 24, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

CINCINNATI — Adrian Gonzalez waited almost a month to feel the way he did Sunday night.

"Today is when I really started feeling my hands," Gonzalez said. "I've been doing a tweak every day, but today I finally felt something that worked and felt good."

What resulted was a pair of solo home runs in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Gonzalez hadn't hit a home run since his first at-bat as a Dodger, on Aug. 26. He had been homerless in 25 consecutive games.

"We've been struggling to score runs and homers are easy runs," Gonzalez said. "You don't have to string together three or four hits to get them."

This was Gonzalez's first multi-home run game in more than a year. His last one came on Aug. 25, 2011, with the Boston Red Sox.

"I felt really good in [batting practice] and really good in the cage and I just tried to carry it over," he said. "The best thing about it is when you see the results. You feel confident about that and then you can keep doing it."

Gonzalez took a playful jab at leadoff hitter Shane Victorino.

"I don't have Victorino pop no more," he said.

The Dodgers' next stop will be in San Diego, the city where Gonzalez grew up and established himself as an All-Star-caliber first baseman. Gonzalez still lives there in the off-season.

The homecoming could be an emotional one for Gonzalez, who hasn't played at Petco Park since he was traded by the Padres to the Boston Red Sox before the 2011 season.

"I'm going to do my best to keep my focus on winning the game," he said.

Ramirez makes early exit

Hanley Ramirez left the game after fouling a pitch off his left shin in the seventh inning, but said he expected to be back in the lineup for the Dodgers' next game Tuesday.

Ramirez said he underwent an X-ray exam that came back negative.

"The day off tomorrow is going to help me," Ramirez said.

The pain-inflicting foul ball came on a 1-1 pitch from Homer Bailey. Ramirez doubled over in pain and was visited by Manager Don Mattingly and assistant trainer Nancy Patterson.

Ramirez remained in the game and drove the next pitch into left field for a single. But he looked uncomfortable as he ran to first base, leading trainer Sue Falsone to escort him out of the game.

Ramirez was replaced by pinch-runner Dee Gordon, who scored later that inning. Gordon remained in the game and played on the field for the Dodgers for the first time since July 4.

Victorino close to returning

Victorino was out of the lineup for the third consecutive day because of a sore left wrist. Mattingly said he expects his left fielder to play Tuesday in San Diego.

The switch-hitting Victorino told Mattingly he could hit from the left side.

"That tells me he's not right," Mattingly said.

But Victorino was available Sunday to pinch-hit and play defense. He was injured Friday in Washington, when he hit his wrist against the outfield wall.

Short hops

A.J. Ellis doubled in the ninth inning to end an 0-for-30 skid. . . . Juan Uribe pinch-hit for Clayton Kershaw in the sixth inning and got a hit. The at-bat was the first for Uribe since Aug. 26. . . . Josh Beckett remains scheduled to pitch the series opener in San Diego. He will be followed in the rotation by Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. . . . Matt Kemp turned 28 Sunday.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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