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Juan Uribe hits three home runs in Dodgers' 8-1 win over Diamondbacks

The third baseman goes four for four and L.A. hits six home runs in lowering its magic number to win the National League West to eight.

September 09, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe comes out of the dugout for a standing ovation in the fifth inning after hitting his third solo home run against the Diamondbacks on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe comes out of the dugout for a standing ovation… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

What happened at Dodger Stadium on Monday night was as remarkable as any throw made by Yasiel Puig this season or any line drive hit by Hanley Ramirez.

Juan Uribe took a curtain call.

After Uribe hit his career-high third home run in the Dodgers' 8-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the same fans who constantly booed him over the last two seasons insisted he come out of the dugout. Uribe climbed a few steps and tipped his cap.

“That's something you never forget,” Uribe said. “That made me emotional. For me, that was huge.”

On a night in which the Dodgers hit a season-high six home runs, Uribe's three were the most memorable. In a season of redemption for the most expensive team in baseball history, the third baseman's comeback has been the most improbable.

As the Dodgers' lowered their magic number to clinch the National League West to eight and ended a four-game losing streak, Uribe completed his transformation from one of the most reviled players in the team's recent history to one of the most beloved.

Uribe was signed before the 2011 season, when the Dodgers were owned by Frank McCourt and couldn't afford top-tier free agents. He had a bloated midsection and a bloated contract, which set the Dodgers back $21 million over three years.

In the first two years of that deal, Uribe hit a combined .199. The low point came late last season, when Uribe was nailed to the bench as overnight sensation Luis Cruz became the Dodgers' everyday third baseman.

“It's hardest when you're ready to play every day but can't,” Uribe said. “I don't blame anyone. Cruz was playing tremendously and he had to play.”

Those close to Uribe said he was embarrassed. But through it all, he smiled and even mentored Cruz. In a team meeting at the end of the 2012 season, Manager Don Mattingly singled out Uribe as an exemplary teammate.

“He gained a lot of respect in the clubhouse for his treatment of Luis,” Mattingly said.

Still, Uribe didn't know how he figured into the Dodgers' plans when he reported to spring training this year.

Uribe has responded by making only three errors. His fielding percentage of .987 ranks second among third basemen.

He raised his average Monday to .279 and his home run total to 10. He hit three balls over the left-field wall in his first three at-bats, becoming the first Dodger to hit three home runs in a game in more than four years. The last to do it was Andre Ethier, on June 26, 2009, against the Seattle Mariners.

Uribe went to the plate in the seventh inning with the chance to become the 17th player in history to hit four home runs in a game. He settled for a run-scoring infield single that increased the Dodgers' lead to 8-1. He received another standing ovation.

In addition to helping Ricky Nolasco win his seventh consecutive decision, the Dodgers' power-hitting display erased whatever doubt was planted in the team's collective mind after being swept over the weekend in Cincinnati.

Through the first five innings, the Dodgers had nine hits. Of them, six were home runs, including one each by Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Ramirez.

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