PHOENIX — For the first time since May 18, the Diamondbacks must look up at the NL West leader.
The D-backs dropped a half-game behind the Dodgers in the division race with a 4-2 loss to the Cubs on Monday, the game finishing about three hours after Los Angeles won 14-5 in Toronto.
The Dodgers were in last place, 9 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks entering June 22, but have won 21 of their 26 games since to improve to 51-47, with rookie Yasiel Puig providing some of the spark.
The D-backs (51-48) are 10-15 since.
“What can I say? They have been playing good,” catcher Miguel Montero said of the Dodgers.
“They have been playing better than us. We can’t really worry about them. We have to worry about us and winning ballgames and playing better ball.”
The Diamondbacks can point to the offense as their trouble spot lately. They have scored eight runs in the last five games, losing four, and are 5 for 32 with runners in scoring position in that stretch.
They had six hits Monday, and both of their extra-base hits were bloop doubles, one behind second base by Didi Gregorius in the sixth and one down the right-field line by Cody Ross in the seventh. Gregorius had three hits.
Gregorius’ double started a two-run sixth inning off emergency starter Chris Rusin, pushed into service when Matt Garza was traded to the Rangers for a package of five players earlier in the day.
Gregorius scored on Martin Prado’s sacrifice fly, and Paul Goldschmidt then singled in Adam Eaton, who had walked, to trim the deficit to 3-2 after a bases-empty homer by the Cubs’ Dioner Navarro and a two-run homer by Junior Lake.
The D-backs loaded the bases on Ross’ double and two walks with one out in the seventh but could not score, and they also left the tying run on third base with two outs in the eighth.
“Things aren’t coming very easy for us,” manager Kirk Gibson said. We had six hits tonight, and two of them were bloops.”
Added Gregorius: “You can’t be perfect in this game. We keep battling no matter what. We have to find a way to score.”