If Adrian Gonzalez could face the Diamondbacks every game, he’d be the stuff of legend. They’d compare Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth to him. They wouldn’t name candy bars after him, but ballparks.
Gonzalez treated the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon as he has all season, and pretty much his entire career -- very, very badly.
The Dodgers first baseman hit a pair of three-run homers to lead the Dodgers to a 7-2 victory over the Diamondbacks on a hot and muggy day before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 43,460.
The victory temporarily increased the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West to 2½ games over the Giants, who are scheduled to play Sunday night in Detroit.
For Gonzalez, the homers were his 21st and 22nd of the season, and they lifted him to 100 RBIs, second in the league to Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (104). And it only seems like all that has come against Arizona.
This season alone, Gonzalez is batting .413 (26 for 63) against the Diamondbacks with seven home runs, 25 RBIs and 21 runs. That’s an entire season for some hitters.
Among active players, he ranks first against Arizona in home runs (31) and RBIs (101), and second to Andre Ethier in hits (149).
The six RBIs matched his career high, also set at Dodger Stadium, in 2010 when he was with the Padres.
Yet for a long time Sunday, Gonzalez and the Dodgers could do absolutely nothing against Arizona’s Trevor Cahill, who had only been their favorite opposing pitcher all season.
Cahill had gone 0-3 with a 9.98 earned-run average in five previous games against the Dodgers this year. So naturally, through five innings he was throwing a no-hitter.
Dee Gordon finally ended that with a one-out double in the sixth. Hanley Ramirez followed with a walk and Gonzalez launched a three-run homer to dead center, estimated at 442 feet.
Gonzalez repeated his performance in the next inning against Oliver Perez. After Gordon walked and Ramirez was safe on an error, Gonzalez sent his next drive to left-center field. The ball nicked the back of the wall and just exceeded the reach of center fielder Ender Inciarte.
Matt Kemp followed with a solo home run, giving the Dodgers their first back-to-back home runs since May 21. Which, apparently, was too much for the Diamondbacks to tolerate.
Perez hit the next Dodgers hitter, Andre Ethier, in the back with a pitch. These are two teams with some bad history, and home-plate umpire Scott Barry immediately warned both benches.
And that did not please Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, who let it be known and was rather quickly ejected by Barry. That irritated Mattingly all the more, and Clayton Kershaw too, who let his feelings be known from the dugout and was ejected by crew chief Laz Diaz.
Diaz made rather a fool of himself in the process; not content to just eject Kershaw, he confronted the two-time Cy Young Award winner by walking toward him and gesturing sharply at least three times for him to leave the dugout.
Things got quiet after that. Zack Greinke (14-8) went six solid innings, holding Arizona to two runs and six hits; he walked three and struck out four. Carlos Frias threw two scoreless innings, and Brandon League a scoreless ninth.
The victory marked the Dodgers’ fourth sweep of Arizona this season. Like Gonzalez, they dominated the Diamondbacks, finishing the year with a 15-4 mark against them. Against all other teams, the Dodgers are 66-58.