Mauricio Dubon's hot streak continues as Giants win third straight

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Red-hot Dubon, overpowering Rodón lead Giants to third straight win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Evan Longoria took part in a full workout on Monday afternoon at Oracle Park, and as he took grounders, manager Gabe Kapler deemed the third baseman "ready." Longoria will return to the big league lineup at some point this week, and when he does Kapler will be without only Tommy La Stella, who continues to rehab with Triple-A Sacramento.

The clubhouse is once again filled with options for Kapler, which is why it stood out when he put Mauricio Dubon in the No. 2 spot, usually reserved these days for a team's best hitter.

Kapler was happy to explain it as he sat in the dugout three hours before the start of a game the Giants would win 8-5. He noted that Dubon has been swinging the bat well recently and that it's been "indisputable" that he's had good at-bats against left-handed pitchers the last couple of years. The Colorado Rockies had young lefty Austin Gomber on the mound.

There was one other reason, too, one that tells you quite a bit about the way Kapler constructs his lineup.

"Strategically for a little bit later in the game, maybe Gomber goes through our lineup three times -- and if he does that's an additional at-bat against a lefty for Mauricio -- but, perhaps he doesn't and if one of their tougher right-handed pitchers comes into the game we have a deeper bench," Kapler said. "We've got a couple of options to come in and take that at-bat and maybe -- it doesn't always work out this way -- but perhaps we can get the platoon advantage in the first three at-bats of the game with some good hitters in the two-hole."

Kapler did end up getting a platoon advantage in those first three at-bats, but that's because Dubon took them all. That ended up being a very, very good thing for the Giants.

Dubon's sacrifice fly gave them a lead two batters into the bottom of the first and his two-run homer to center added on two innings later. In the sixth, Dubon came up against Gomber a third time and singled up the middle. He scored the first of three runs that inning as the Giants put the game out of reach. An inning later, Dubon lined another single, this time against righty Ashton Goudeau.

Dubon has started three straight games -- all wins -- for the Giants and has been instrumental in helping them wipe out memories of a five-game losing streak. He's 6-for-12 with six runs, five RBI and a pair of homers.

In three days, Dubon has raised his average from .138 to .244 and his OPS from .306 to .665, but he said nothing else has really changed. Dubon recently had a conversation with his wife about how last year's slow start led him to "look for hits," but this year he has made sure to stick to the plan he brought into Opening Day.

"I haven't changed anything," Dubon said. "Since the beginning of the year I've been hitting the ball hard right at people and either it's dying at the warning track or it's right at somebody's chest. Lately I've been finding holes. I've been feeling the same from the start to right now. I haven't done anything different."

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Dubon didn't homer in his first 15 appearances this year, but he has two impressive ones in his last three games, both to dead center. That's no surprise to Kapler, who recalled watching Dubon take batting practice in a group "with our bangers" last season when the Giants visited Arlington. The Texas Rangers' new stadium put exit velocities up on the scoreboard and Kapler still remembers Dubon leading the way in a group filled with power hitters.

"He's got real sock," Kapler said. "It doesn't necessarily come out in the same way or as often as some of the guys that were hitting with him that day, but it's in there."

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