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Dodgers making their ballpark play small

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spent some time in his office after Wednesday's 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants kicking around some theories as to why his team's home ballpark, usually a refuge for pitchers 20 miles from the cool Pacific Ocean, has played like Camden Yards on a balmy July evening.

Through 12 games, the Dodgers and their opponents have mashed 33 home runs, an averaging of 2.75 per game, most in the National League and tied with Camden Yards for most bandbox-y in the majors. Mattingly's pet theories, which he views in convergence: global warming and the slow creep of hitting coach Mark McGwire's influence.

"I think it's just taken Mac this long to get through to the guys," Mattingly said.

Then again, there is a simpler theory that doesn't require even rudimentary science.

"It could be that we're hitting it better," Adrian Gonzalez said.

Radical though that thought is, let's explore.

Gonzalez has been touting his theory since January, before the evidence started coming in, when he first predicted this would be a more powerful team, contrary to most people's view after the new front office traded Matt Kemp and let Hanley Ramirez walk. Kemp and Ramirez were in the top four in slugging on the team. Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson, Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick have a chance to make that up, Gonzalez thinks, plus a premium.

Maybe it's a one-month blip -- and Mattingly admitted he has been surprised by all the early slugging -- but it's been a welcome blip and they'll ride the blip as long as it lasts. The Dodgers are 10-2 at home. They lead the major leagues with 32 home runs and they have yet to leave the West Coast. Of the four stadiums where they have played games so far, only Chase Field is a hitter's park. Petco Park and AT&T Park are cavernous and situated in even cooler climates.

"I thought we traded away a lot of our power and our offense has been as good as ever, so far," said Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, who rode the Dodgers' four home runs to his sixth win in seven starts against the Giants. "I know Howie's been terrific and Joc's better than, probably, anyone imagined, so that's pretty good taking over for Matt and Hanley right there, those two guys."

Pederson, the Dodgers' rookie center fielder, has shown few signs of nerves since the start of spring training. Mattingly incubated his talent in the No. 8 hole through the first 20 games of the season, but Wednesday he nudged him out of the nest, putting him in the leadoff spot ahead of Rollins, the slumping veteran.

Pederson hit an important home run, crushing a ball to center field to tie the game up in the first inning and helping spark a bit of a romp against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. Pederson is third in the major leagues with a .461 on-base percentage and his four home runs trail only two rookies, including the Dodgers' Alex Guerrero.

"He's playing over his skis," Gonzalez joked.

Maybe not, at least not by appearances, but it has, at times, looked like Pederson and his teammates have been doing their hitting at high altitude.

Dodger Stadium sits at an elevation of 267 feet.