Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 6/24/12
PHOENIX -- Though a strong week that included a series win over the Mariners and a sweep of the Cubs must be taken with a grain of salt because the opponents are both last-place teams, the Diamondbacks appear to be in sync like they have not been since the first few days of the season. With five wins in six games, including Sunday's 5-1 win, the D-backs have positioned themselves just 5 12 games back of the first-place Dodgers in the National League West and displayed in recent days the combination of pitching and offense they've been waiting for all season. "We were clicking on all cylinders," right fielder Justin Upton said of the team's homestand. "You can't expect that all the time, but when it does happen, it's fun to watch. Hopefully we can just keep the momentum." In taking care of business against the Mariners and Cubs, the D-backs scored 51 runs in six games. Upton appears to have emerged from a season-long funk, while Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel have continued their hot hitting as well. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been asked more than once over the past week what's gotten into the team that was shut out three times in five games on the road trip that preceded this homestand, and he seemed to have an answer Sunday, one that applied to all facets of a team that is now 12-5 over its last 17 contests. "I think they're just feeling it more right now," Gibson said. "I think they just feel a little better about themselves right now. It's on now. We're mid- to late June right now, and things start to heat up." D-backs rookie left-hander Wade Miley, who hurled his latest gem Sunday -- eight innings, three hits, one run and seven strikeouts -- confirmed Gibson's assessment after Sunday's win that bumped his record to 9-3. "We've got a lot of confidence right now," Miley said. "We're playing good baseball -- defense, pitching and swinging the bat well. "We've just got to keep moving forward. We can't worry about winning every single game we play. We've just got to play good baseball and things will shape up." That pretty much covers it, but the challenge now is turning one good stretch into something more meaningful. The D-backs have gone on a couple good runs this season only to follow it with a rough patch that negate any prior progress. But with the NL West tightening up once again and the D-backs two games over .500 for the first time since May 1, they're in position to make things interesting. The D-backs are entering a stretch of 13 games in 13 days leading up to the All-Star break, beginning with a road trip to Atlanta and Milwaukee that starts Tuesday. After the break, the D-backs go 20 straight games without an off day. "I think we've got a real tough schedule the next month," Gibson said. "Were just getting into it right now. We'll use the whole roster and then some." With such a stretch ahead, the D-backs will certainly appreciate Monday's off day and are now bracing for what could be a crucial two weeks. But Gibson says his team wont change its mentality no matter how hot it may be. "It's going to be the same way it has been all year -- just keep pushing on every day," Gibson said. "We'll take the tough losses tough, but we'll move on quickly to the next day and just have the confidence in the end we'll be where we need to be."
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