Lamb busts out, leans on lessons from '16

D-backs 3B doubles twice for 3 RBIs in win over Cubs

Lamb busts out, leans on lessons from '16

CHICAGO -- There's no question the last few weeks have been tough at the plate for Jake Lamb.

But the D-backs' third baseman is trying to put the lessons he learned during his struggles in the second half last year to use this season.

Lamb delivered a pair of doubles Wednesday night and drove in all three runs as the D-backs beat the Cubs, 3-0, at Wrigley Field. With the win, the D-backs lead the Rockies by a half-game for the top spot in the National League Wild Card standings.

When he stepped to the plate against Jake Arrieta in the sixth inning with runners on second and third and no outs, Lamb was in the midst of a 1-for-23 stretch.

After jumping ahead in the count, 3-0, Lamb fouled off a sinker before grounding the next one down the right-field line to score both runners.

"I was just trying to be aggressive," Lamb said. "I chased a 3-0 that I probably wouldn't have. Then he came with a fastball in and it wasn't the best swing, but it got the job done."

In the eighth, Lamb came up with a runner on first and one out against left-hander Justin Wilson.

Lefties have given Lamb fits this year -- he came into the game hitting .129 against them -- but he jumped on the first pitch and hit it for an RBI double to left.

Trying to combat those struggles against lefties, Lamb has worked in the cage with hitting coach Dave Magadan. Magadan has been flipping balls to Lamb from the angle he would see with a lefty on the mound.

In addition, Magadan has encouraged Lamb to be aggressive against lefties rather than allowing himself to fall behind in the count, which is one of the reasons Lamb jumped on Wilson's first pitch.

Last year, Lamb hit .291 with a .983 OPS in the first half and nearly made the NL All-Star team as a Final Vote candidate. In the second half, though, he hit just .197 with a .663 OPS.

This year, he once again put together an outstanding first half, hitting .279 with a .922 OPS and was selected for the All-Star Game on the players' ballot.

Even with his 2-for-4 performance Wednesday, Lamb is hitting just .189 since the All-Star break, but he's confident the lessons he learned last year will help him.

"Last year, it got to a bad three or four or five games, and I was like, 'All right, I need three hits today,'" Lamb said. "That's not how it works. I can feel bad for the rest of the month and then kill it in September. There's so much time left. That's how you've got to view it. Obviously, the numbers are out there ... but there's a lot of time left. And if you're giving up now, especially on a team that's trying to make a playoff run, you're not helping this team out at all."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.