PITTSBURGH — The Dodgers' most consistent hitter this season, Adrian Gonzalez is in a minor slump.
He was hitless in four at-bats in his team's 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night at PNC Park, making him six for 34 with two runs batted in over his last nine games.
Gonzalez, who leads the Dodgers with 44 runs batted in, is now batting .307. The last time his average was that low was when the season was four games old.
BOX SCORE: Pittsburgh 3, Dodgers 0
"Timing's not exactly where it is," Gonzalez said. "I feel I'm having decent swings, not as good as I've wanted."
But Gonzalez claimed to not know about his numbers over the last week and a half.
"Results are tough to focus on," Gonzalez said. "That's what puts people in slumps."
To blame the loss Friday entirely on Gonzalez would be unfair, as the Dodgers were limited to six hits. Of the six, three were infield hits, including both of Yasiel Puig's singles.
Hanley Ramirez returned from a tight hamstring to start his first game in nine days, but was 0 for 4 batting cleanup.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke (6-1) was masterful, limiting the Dodgers to two hits in seven innings. Locke walked only one batter.
"He was just throwing strikes," Gonzalez said. "You want to take them and be 0-1, 0-2, you can take them and be 0-1, 0-2 or you can put a good swing on them."
On the other hand, Dodgers starter Stephen Fife ran up his pitch count quickly, which limited him to five innings. Fife gave up six hits and walked three.
The two runs charged to Fife came in the third inning, when Andrew McCutchen doubled in two runs.
Bench coach Trey Hillman managed the Dodgers, as Manager Don Mattingly was serving a one-game suspension for his role in the brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks last week.
The Puig rules
With the blessing of Mattingly, Puig has decided he will no longer grant interviews before games.
That being the case, questions about his participation in the brawl with the Diamondbacks remained unanswered. Puig also didn't speak to reporters before or after the Dodgers' previous two games.
"The media kind of wears him out," Mattingly said. "We talked about it a little bit today, just trying to limit. You don't have to do anything extra."
So Mattingly is behind Puig's media blackout?
"I'm behind him having fun and playing the best baseball," Mattingly said. "I know he's been bothered by some of it. It's not fair to him. Ten days in the big leagues. I know he's put up huge numbers, but that doesn't mean he's capable or ready to go out and have to talk about what he's doing all the time. I think, for him, it makes it simpler. He can just concentrate on playing."
Puig was involved in a scary moment in the seventh inning, as he nearly crashed into center fielder Andre Ethier in pursuit of a fly ball in right-center field.
Ethier called Puig off the ball, but said, "It's so loud, you can't hear many things."
With A.J. Ellis returning from the disabled list, the Dodgers designated backup catcher Ramon Hernandez for assignment.
Acquired from the Colorado Rockies in an early-season trade for Aaron Harang, Hernandez batted .208 with three home runs and six RBIs in 17 games for the Dodgers. With Hernandez out of the picture, rookie Tim Federowicz is expected to be Ellis' backup for the remainder of the season.