SF@ARI: Sandoval singles to center for his second RBI

PHOENIX -- Three hitters at the top and middle of the Giants' lineup have been the bane of the D-backs pitching staff's existence the last two days entering Sunday.

Right fielder Hunter Pence, catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Pablo Sandoval have gone a combined 10-for-24 in Games 1 and 2 of the two teams' three-game series.

"They're really good," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Their bats stay in the zone a long time. They recognize well. They know how to put the barrel on the ball.

"One of the reasons for the success the Giants have had over all those years is they've all been there."

Even when they're not getting extra-base hits, the Giants trio has been doing damage. They hit three straight singles in the first inning Saturday to put the Giants on the board first.

The Giants rallied that inning and batted around, so Posey and Sandoval put the D-backs in an even deeper hole in the second inning, hitting a double and an RBI single, respectively.

Catcher Miguel Montero said Sandoval in particular is hard to pitch to because he excels at hitting pitches out of the zone.

"He's a good bad-ball hitter, so he swings a lot at balls but he makes contact," Montero said. "He's like Vladimir Guerrero. He's tough.

"He's a guy you don't want to face in some situtations because he can put the ball in play, and when you put the ball in play, a lot of things can happen."

Montero said although all three hitters are hot right now, it comes down to D-backs pitchers executing better.

"We know those guys are good hitters," he said. "We just have to make better pitches, period."

Chavez gives knee a rest to reduce inflammation

ARI@NYM: Chavez turns impressive double play

PHOENIX -- Eric Chavez is trying to take it easy so he can get back onto the field.

The veteran D-backs third baseman has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a left knee injury, so he has been reducing the workload on his knee.

"Chavvy's just in 'calm-everything-down' mode," manager Kirk Gibson said before Sunday's series finale vs. the Giants.

Gibson said Chavez has been taking it easy to try to reduce inflammation in the knee, which Chavez said has been helping.

"When you do nothing, you feel much better," Chavez said. "It's getting there."

Chavez was a key contributor off the bench before he went on the disabled list. The veteran third baseman had a .795 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) and three home runs while serving primarily as a reserve third baseman.

The starting third baseman, Martin Prado, has played all but one game. Since Chavez went on the DL, Prado is hitting .217 (10-for-46). The D-backs played Didi Gregorius, who is usually a shortstop, at third base for one game.

Chavez said doctors hadn't set a timetable for when he could return, but sitting out isn't something he enjoys.

"It's very frustrating," he said.

D-backs welcome long-awaited off-day

SF@ARI: Goldy snags a hard-hit grounder down the line

PHOENIX -- When the D-backs wrap up the finale of their three-game series against the Giants on Sunday, they will have played 20 games in 20 days. Fortunately for them, there's a rest on the horizon.

Monday is the D-backs' first off-day since June 2, and it will provide a much-needed break.

"It'll be nice," first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said before Sunday's series finale. "[Long stretches of games are] part of it. Everyone does it at different parts of the season, but it'd be nice to get a win today and then you can kind of enjoy the off-day."

Entering the final game of the 20-game stretch, the D-backs were 9-10 since their last off-day. They started that part of the schedule hot, winning five of the first six games, but then started to tail off toward the end.

Since going on the road to play the Astros, they are 3-8.

"It'll help," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It'll allow us to do some more stuff that we'd like to do. But overall, we've got through it OK."

The added bonus of the off-day is giving banged-up players an extra day of rest.

Shortstop Chris Owings sat out Saturday and was out of the lineup again Sunday with an ankle injury.

Owings said the off-day should help him get back into the lineup for Tuesday's home game against the Indians.

Catcher Miguel Montero, who has caught the most innings of any Major League catcher, said the recent stretch of games hasn't bothered him much, and he was more worried about getting a win Sunday than a day off Monday.

"It's been a long stretch, but honestly, I'm not going to lie, I haven't felt like it's been so long," he said. "If we win today, it's going to be a really nice day off tomorrow."