Gonzalez continues hot streak as Dodgers honor Jackie Robinson
It's not often you get two hits in a game and your batting average dips 20 points. That's a testament to the torrid start Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is on to start the 2015 season.
Neither Gonzalez nor his teammates were fazed Wednesday by the pre-game festivities that came with hosting the Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day. Team partner Magic Johnson was on hand, while Sandy Koufax walked out Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel, for an on-field ceremony prior to first pitch.
Each team lined up, all members wearing No. 42, along the first and third base lines in front of their respective dugouts. The ceremony might have even given the Dodgers a boost in the 5-2 win over the Mariners at Dodger Stadium. By the end of the first, the Dodgers led 3-0.
"Anytime you can play on Jackie Robinson Day it's an honor especially playing for the Dodgers," Gonzalez said. "All that (pregame) stuff is always great. We can always take our 10 minutes getting ready a little bit earlier just to be able to appreciate all that Jackie did for us."
Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, becoming the first black player in Major League baseball. His No. 42 is retired throughout baseball, and he's still in the Dodger record books as the career fielding percentage leader for second baseman.
Robinson is also the last Dodger to reach base twice in each of his first nine games to start the season. That was until Wednesday night.
Gonzalez went 2-for-5 Wednesday to become the first Dodger to accomplish the feat since Robinson did it in 1952. Gonzalez did it while wearing No. 42 on his back.
It's added significance for Gonzalez to be wearing a Dodgers No. 42 uniform, compared to some of the other stops he's had in his career.
"This is special because this is where he played," Gonzalez said. "That's unique in itself. No other team can say that. This is, I guess, the best way to honor Jackie is to wear the Dodger jersey. It's definitely more special because of that."
The Dodgers' first baseman extended his hitting streak to 11 games dating back to last season. He also became the first Dodger ever to have 19 hits in his first nine games.
At the conclusion of the night Gonzalez was hitting .528/.595/1.111.
"It's great," he said. "It's awesome. Thank God for the start, for the ability to be on the field and have health so I can get those accomplishments. The season's young so you can't sit on those accomplishments.
"I think (Dodgers manager Don Mattingly) said it earlier when I hit the three home runs, you, kind of, just try to stay focused, try to keep that good streak going. The same mentality, don't change a lot of what you're doing right. Just try to ride the wave as long as you can, try to ride the hot streak. We know that this game is about ups and downs, and there's going to be downs in this season so the longer I can keep a hot streak the better my year will be and the better we'll be as a team."