Clutch hits elude D-backs on road swing

Clutch hits elude D-backs on road swing

SAN FRANCISCO -- Missed opportunities at the plate ended what could have been a promising road trip on a sour note for the D-backs.

The D-backs lost to the Giants, 6-3, Sunday, dropping the three-game series to the National League West's last-place team and ending their three-city, 10-game road trip at 5-5. Arizona went into the trip one game ahead of Colorado for the top NL Wild Card spot, but now sits a half-game behind.

"These guys are built to understand that there are going to be certain challenges and you just have to give it your best effort in the right situation," manager Torey Lovullo said. "They're giving a tremendous effort. The bottom line is it just came down to poor execution at times."

The area where the D-backs seemed to struggle the most was at the plate with runners in scoring position. The team went 15-for-84 (.179) over the 10-game trip and 5-for-30 (.167) in the three-game series in San Francisco. Lovullo said it's "hard to pinpoint" why Arizona's struggled in that situation recently.

"It's magnified when you build an inning and you don't score runs," Lovullo said. "This group of guys, they've done it all year long. They have a really good track record of getting the job done. We just couldn't get some big two-out hits. Those are things that we've done all year long. We just weren't able to do that."

The team entered the road trip batting .280 with runners in scoring position, letting infielder Brandon Drury think that this rough stretch is just a small blip in the long season.

"You go through times when you're not hitting with runners in scoring position, and you go through times where you're hot with it," Drury said. "We've been battling lately. We're one hit away from going on a big hot streak, so we're all just waiting for that time."

Still, with three one-run losses and a game Sunday where Arizona had the tying run at the plate with fewer than two outs in the seventh, the D-backs are frustrated that they weren't able to do better, especially with three division leaders -- the Dodgers, Cubs and Astros -- coming to Phoenix on the next homestand.

"Yeah, we could've done better for sure," starter Patrick Corbin said, who went 0-2 on the road trip. "We're definitely frustrated to come out .500 and we know we have a tough challenge coming home."

Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.