Gonzalez tips balance sheet on his $154 million contract with home run

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers signs autographs before the game with the Miami Marlins on August 25, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Gonzalez breaks the tie with a first inning homerun and Dodgers continue the lead to win 8-2.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers signs autographs before the game with the Miami Marlins on August 25, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Gonzalez breaks the tie with a first inning homerun and Dodgers continue the lead to win 8-2. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The most expensive trade in Dodgers history began paying dividends last night at Dodger Stadium.

To get four-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the Boston Red Sox, the Dodgers had to pick up the cost of his seven-year, $154 million contract, plus the deals of three other players. With the trade finalized yesterday, the Dodgers are now on the hook for an extra quarter-billion dollars in contracts over the next six years.

But the payback began when Gonzalez came to bat in the first inning last night against the Miami Marlins.

With two Dodgers on base and the game tied 1-1, the lefthand-hitting slugger blasted the second pitch he saw high over the right field fence for a three-run home run.

That put L.A. up 4-to-1, and they never lost the lead. Gonzalez circled the bases and tipped his helmet to the cheering crowd once he was in the dugout.

Gonzalez made outs in his other four at-bats, but that didn’t matter. What did matter was that the Dodgers won – 8-to-2 – to pull to within two games of first-place San Francisco in the National League West, and to within a half-game of St. Louis in the wild card race.

One game with Adrian Gonzalez and L.A. fans have a new favorite while the Dodgers collect a dividend.

The Dodgers host Miami today at 1:10pm.

The game could feature a baseball record: Dodger rightfielder Andre Ethier has collected 10 hits in 10 consecutive plate appearances, and he's done it despite a large blister on his right hand.

If Ethier gets three hits in his first three times up, he'll set a new Major League Baseball record for consecutive hits.

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