Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/2/12

The defending NL West champion Diamondbacks have reentered the division race largely because of an offense that is suddenly as hot as the northern tip of the Sonoran desert ... and it was 101 in metro Phoenix at noon on Thursday.

A three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers that concluded Wednesday brought the D-backs within 2 1/2 games of division-leading San Francisco before a travel day and affirmed their offense as a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.

The D-backs outscored the Dodgers, 19-4, at Dodger Stadium while hitting six home runs, two in each game.

There were two by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, two by catcher Miguel Montero and two by new third baseman Chris Johnson, who announced his presence with a grand slam in his third at-bat with the D-backs in the fifth inning of a 7-2 victory Monday.

"This is a great lineup to hit in," said Johnson, who was acquired from Houston for two minor leaguers on Sunday and reported to the D-backs on Monday. "I'm just trying to do my part.

Said right-hander Trevor Cahill, the immediate beneficiary: "Grand slam first game, probably the best way you can enter a new team."

The D-backs (54-51) have won 10 of their last 13 are three games over .500 for the first time since April 17. It is their best stretch of the season, and it has a lot to do with the hot bats.

The D-backs led the National League with 134 runs in July and were second in on-base percentage.

Left fielder Jason Kubel hit 12 home runs in July, tied for the major league lead, and set a franchise record for homers in that month. Kubel, perhaps the best bang-for-the-buck free agent winter signing, had 22 home runs and led the NL with 72 RBI for about a week before he was passed by Carlos Beltran of St. Louis.

"The first thing I said was, 'That's 30 (home runs) and 100 (RBI) for our lineup,' infielder Willie Bloomquist said when he heard of Kubel's acquisition. "In this ballpark? Yes. He gets good backspin on his ball, and especially in this ballpark, if you get a ball in the air with good backspin, it is going to go a ways. He goes the other way really well, too."

Kubel drove in 22 runs in July, and Montero and Paul Goldschmidt each drove in 18. Goldschmidt hit nine doubles, Aaron Hill had seven and Chris Young added six.

"It's that time of the year when you have to wake up, I guess," Montero said with a grin.

Montero did some work in the batting cage to adjust his hitting approach, putting more of a load on his back leg, and it has led to his best run of the season.

Montero has 14 hits in 30 at-bats since July 22, with four home runs and 12 RBI. His two-out, three-run home run in the sixth inning extended a one-run lead in an 8-2 victory on Tuesday, and his two-run home run in the eighth doubled the D-backs' lead in a 4-0 victory Wednesday. He has reached base on 25 of his last 41 plate appearances, with nine walks and twice was hit by pitches.

Goldschmidt, hitting fourth behind Kubel, has done his best hitting when it matters most, within the division. He was 8-for-12 with first-inning home runs Monday and Tuesday against the Dodgers, and is batting .356 with 10 of his 15 home runs against the NL West.

"We're swinging the bats pretty good ... the impact bats," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're kind of resembling much more what we did in the past and what made us successful."

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