Dodgers

Adrian Gonzalez extends RBI streak as Dodgers top Braves, 6-2

Adrian Gonzalez has driven in runs in each of the Dodgers' last five games

Adrian Gonzalez can't describe exactly what he's feeling right now. He can't explain why this feeling appears and vanishes without notice.

Whatever it is, he thinks it could be the start of something.

Gonzalez has driven in runs in each of the Dodgers' last five games, the most recent a series-opening, 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

"I'm a very streaky hitter, so hopefully I can continue to keep doing that," he said.

Gonzalez singled in the Dodgers' first run in a three-run sixth inning Monday that reversed a 1-0 deficit. The run batted in was the 80th of the season for Gonzalez. In the National League, only Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has more.

Against the Braves, Gonzalez had two hits and drove another ball to the warning track. He is batting .579 over his last five games and .357 in 23 games since the All-Star break. For the season, he is hitting .271.

"He's just been in sync," said Manager Don Mattingly. "It's been a little bit now. It doesn't seem there's a run out there he didn't drive in."

Gonzalez can't say why his bat has suddenly awakened.

"I wish it was something you could just kind of go to, you know? It's not. It's the human element of the feeling of being in the zone that no one can explain."

He was in a zone through April, when he was batting .317 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs.

His average plunged the next month. He batted .231 in May and .222 in June.

Looking back, Gonzalez doesn't think he was in a slump for two months.

"I feel like I had one bad stretch," he said. "After April, I had a lot of balls that I hit really hard at people. May was actually not a bad month hitting the ball. But in June, I got myself into that funk because I was getting frustrated."

Whatever the case, he managed to continue driving in runs, something Mattingly attributed to his pragmatic approach at the plate with runners in scoring position.

"He's taking his money when there are guys on third base," Mattingly said. "He's not getting greedy. He's taking that sac fly, kind of early in the count when they leave a ball out over the plate. That's really what RBI guys do. You leave it for them, they take it and that's what Adrian's been doing."

With Hanley Ramirez constantly battling injuries and Yasiel Puig still in the developmental phase of his career, Gonzalez thinks it's important for him to be a regular run producer.

"I try to be a guy who can play every day," he said.

Doing so is becoming a greater challenge as Gonzalez grows older. Gonzalez is now 32 and his knees are constant sources of trouble for him.

"You don't necessarily talk about it because you don't want anybody to look at it as an excuse," he said. "I don't need anybody to feel bad for me.

"I'll deal with it the rest of my career. It's not something that really bothers me. I'm still going to be out there every day. I'm still going to play hard every day."

A four-time All-Star, Gonzalez is on pace to drive in 100 or more runs for the sixth time in his career.

"For me, the biggest key is don't focus on stats," he said. "Just focus on helping the team win."

Gonzalez said there was a time in his career when he also had other objectives — establishing himself as a major leaguer or becoming an All-Star, for example.

Not any more.

"I don't care about any of that stuff," he said. "I just want to win a World Series. You get to where I'm at, I really don't care about anything other than winning."

With their victory Monday night, the Dodgers extended their lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West to a season-high five games.

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