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D-backs aim to recapture offensive groove

Arizona just 1-for-8 with RISP entering Game 3 of NLDS
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- The D-backs have scored 10 runs against solid Dodgers pitching in the first two games of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile, yet that good news is obscured by the fact they enter tonight's game at Chase Field one loss from elimination.

Although the obvious problem has been starting pitching -- with Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray giving up a combined eight runs on eight hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings -- Arizona's offense is looking for ways to do just a little more.

PHOENIX -- The D-backs have scored 10 runs against solid Dodgers pitching in the first two games of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile, yet that good news is obscured by the fact they enter tonight's game at Chase Field one loss from elimination.

Although the obvious problem has been starting pitching -- with Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray giving up a combined eight runs on eight hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings -- Arizona's offense is looking for ways to do just a little more.

:: NLDS schedule and coverage ::

The output has been solid in games started by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and lefty Rich Hill. Now the challenge is Yu Darvish, but the D-backs are confident.

"Get to Yu a little bit early in the game and take a little pressure off us," Jeff Mathis said Sunday. "But I'm happy with the way we grinded. We got behind and we battled back. That's something that we're definitely happy about."

But only so happy.

"Yeah, it's good that we've scored, but we're still sitting down 0-2," Paul Goldschmidt said. "It's better if we didn't score many but found a way to win. If we've got to win, 1-0, or win a high-scoring game, just do everything we can to win and keep playing."

• Lovullo: D-backs have 'bit more of story to tell'

The D-backs had little chance for an early lead against Kershaw in the opener. Walker gave up four runs in the bottom of the first. Yet, they climbed into the game with four solo homers, all off Kershaw.

Arizona took a 2-0 lead in Game 2 on Goldschmidt's two-run homer off Hill in the first, but the Dodgers simply wore Ray down and had a steady offensive output.

Video: LAD@ARI Gm3: Lamb on coming home for NLDS Game 3

But the D-backs are just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, with the only hit in that situation coming on Brandon Drury's three-run homer in the seventh on Saturday. And they're just 2-for-19 overall with two outs.

The key is spreading production throughout the lineup. J.D. Martinez is 4-for-8 (.500) with a homer in the series, and Ketel Marte is 3-for-8 with a homer. A.J. Pollock is 2-for-6 with two walks and a homer, and Goldschmidt's homer was his only hit in seven at-bats.

"Offensively, [we need to] continue to grind things out, score runs and expect to score runs," said D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. "We've done that. Against Clayton Kershaw we scored some runs, and then yesterday we battled and got right back in there.

"Maybe group things together, get big hits, execute with two outs and expect to get the job done. Those are themes that we've been following all year long."

Video: LAD@ARI Gm3: Lovullo on mindset heading into Game 3

The D-backs also hope to harness the magic of a loud crowd.

"If you're at home, you feel like you can thrive off that energy," said infielder Daniel Descalso.

Thomas Harding has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks