LOS ANGELES – Adrian Gonzalez insists he's no home run hitter, even if his current power surge suggests otherwise.
Gonzalez homered three times in a game for the first time in his 12-year career, powering the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory Wednesday night over the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
In doing so, the four-time All-Star became the first player in major league history to hit five home runs in his team's first three games of a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Gonzalez also became only the third player in Dodgers history to hit a home run in each of the team's first three games and the first National League player since Orlando Cepeda in 1963 to collect three hits or more in each of his team's first three games.
"Natural hitter," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Natural baseball player."
Before the game Wednesday, the first baseman was presented with the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards he claimed in 2014.
Soon after, he pounced on a 98 mph fastball from Padres starter Andrew Cashner and sent it over the wall in right-center field. The homer reduced the Dodgers' deficit to 2-1.
"He likes to throw his fastball," Gonzalez said. "I was ready for it."
The Dodgers moved in front 4-2 in a three-run second inning that included a bases-loaded walk by pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
Gonzalez increased the advantage to 5-2 in the third inning when he connected with another fastball from Cashner for a home run.
Two innings later, another fastball by Cashner resulted in another solo home run for Gonzalez.
The fans remained on their feet as Gonzalez returned to the dugout, where Yasiel Puig leaped on his back. Gonzalez scaled up the dugout steps and saluted the crowd.
There was more to come.
The Padres scored twice against McCarthy in the sixth inning, to close the gap to 6-4.
Gonzalez returned to the batter's box in the bottom half of that inning with runners on the corners and righthander Nick Vincent on the mound. Black promptly called on lefthander Frank Garces to pitch to the lefthanded-hitting Gonzalez.
Gonzalez lined a 3-1 off-speed pitch into center field, driving in Justin Turner and extending the Dodgers' lead to 7-4.
Gonzalez finished the game 4-for-4 with four RBI. He was 10-for-13 (.769) with seven RBI and seven runs over the series.