Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen put up the zeroes the Dodgers needed on Sunday night at Wrigley Field, but to beat the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS the club needed a run. That came courtesy of Adrian Gonzalez, who is heating up while also putting his stamp on the franchise record book.
Gonzalez took Kyle Hendricks deep in the second inning, a home run to left center field against the major league leader in ERA during the regular season.
“I wanted to be aggressive early. He likes to establish his fastball, and I wanted to elevate it,” Gonzalez said after the game to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. “Thank God I was able to take that approach and execute it. I got the ball in the air and got a little jet stream behind it, and it went out.”
The home run came one night after Gonzalez had a pair of hits against left-handers, one against Jon Lester — second in the majors to Hendricks in ERA — and another a two-out, two-run game-tying single against triple-digit wonder Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning to tie the game.
After a 1-for-11 start to this postseason, Gonzalez is now 7-for-27 in these playoffs with two home runs and five RBI in seven games, hitting .259/.310/.481. He has a six-game playoff hitting streak at the moment.
"Adrian is a pro. He's a hitter who can set you up,” Jansen told Morosi after the game. “He's great.”
With the home run, Gonzalez shared the Dodgers’ player of the game belt with Kershaw.
The home run for Gonzalez gave him seven playoff home runs since joining the Dodgers, third-most in franchise history, a feat more impressive since it is in 26 games. The only players ahead of him played in far more games — Duke Snider hit 11 home runs in 36 games (even more impressive, since all of Snider’s postseason games came in the World Series), and Steve Garvey hit 10 home runs in 45 games with the Dodgers.
In his 26 playoff games with the Dodgers, Gonzalez has hit .280/.333/.520 with seven home runs. That’s a 44-homer pace over a full season.
Gonzalez is also the seventh Dodger with 20 postseason runs batted in — Snider tops that list too, with 26 RBI — but has been slow and steady with the production, never driving in more than two runs in a playoff game but doing that seven different times for the Dodgers.
Sunday was the 13th different postseason game that Gonzalez has driven in a run for the Dodgers, tying him with Pee Wee Reese (44 games, all World Series) for third-most in franchise history. Bill Russell leads that group with 16 different games with an RBI, out of his 49 postseason games, followed by Ron Cey’s 14 different games among his 40 postseason contests with the Dodgers.