That much was obvious, as Gonzalez tormented his former team for three home runs in his first three at-bats, giving him five in this three-game series. Gonzalez became the first player in Major League history to hit five home runs in his team's first three games.
Cashner allowed all three home runs, all nearly to the same spot in right field, on just nine pitches, with all coming before the fifth inning was complete in what became a 7-4 victory by the Dodgers over the Padres.
"Tough night for Cash," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Adrian was an obvious thorn in his side and had a big night, probably one of the best nights in his career. Any time you hit three home runs in one game, that's a special night for Gonzo.
"[It was a] one-man show tonight."
Cashner was beat by three fastballs in nearly the same spot, as he first tried to go away on Gonzalez, who cut his professional teeth and found his niche during his five years with the Padres, making three All-Star teams and, in 2010, finishing fourth in the National League MVP vote.
"I felt the game as a whole I didn't locate much tonight. A lot of fastballs down the middle," Cashner said. "I wasn't really crisp. Some tough calls that could have gone either way but I have still got to execute my pitches."
Cashner looked like he might have had Gonzalez struck out in his first at-bat on a close 0-2 pitch. But the call went for a ball and Gonzalez homered on the fifth pitch of the at-bat with two outs in the inning.
The next two home runs, one in the third and another in the fifth inning, came when Gonzalez was the leadoff hitter in the inning.
"I felt I had a great gameplan against him but I just didn't execute. Three mistakes to the same spot, I've got to be better than that, mix in some more offspeed especially when I'm not locating my fastball," he said. "But I kept us in the game, saved our bullpen and I thought my slider was the best it's been."
Cashner allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with three walks, a wild pitch and five strikeouts in a five-inning stint.
"My fastball, that's my game. I'm going to stick to it. I've just got to locate. I threw some sinkers tonight that were right down the middle," he said.
"The biggest thing is executing my gameplan. Good hitting teams make pitchers pay for their mistakes."
Gonzalez, who hit 161 home runs for the Padres from 2006-2010 before he was traded to the Red Sox, added an RBI single later in the game off lefty Frank Garces. All told, he was 10-for-13 in the series with the five home runs and seven RBIs.
"He had a great series. He's locked in right now," Black said. "You try to make your pitches. You don't want to give into him or throw it where we threw it. We didn't get in on him and didn't get down and away on him."
San Diego outfielder Will Venable, the only player on the active roster who played with Gonzalez, has seen this kind of production from Gonzalez before.
"He gets locked in and doesn't miss pitches," said Venable, who played with Gonzalez in parts of three seasons (2008-2010). "It's why he does what he does every year. He didn't miss in this series."