Goldschmidt, Upton, Hudson Help Pull D-backs Into First-Place Tie With Giants

Yes, Diamondbacks fans and fans of old-school baseball and good underdog stories... the Snakes have a stake of first place in the NL West.

Arizona, no-hit by San Francisco starter Tim Lincecum until the fifth inning and afforded two walks until that inning Tuesday night, jumped ahead on a Ryan Roberts single and young Paul Goldschmidt's first major-league home run, deep into the seats under the big Coke bottle in left field at AT&T Park. Then the Diamondbacks played add-on and bashed their way to a 6-1 win.

That was more than enough for Arizona starter Daniel Hudson, who turned in another solid outing as his season only keeps getting better.

The same can be said of the surging Diamondbacks, who came to the Bay down two games in the standings and with back-to-back wins on the road, have forced a tie. Both teams are 61-49.

That's 110 games played each. Fifty-two to go, and no indication that this race won't go down to the wire, as the Diamondbacks continue to find ways to win.

But back to the game. The D-backs got the longball again at a crucial moment, Justin Upton going deep to left for a two-run shot at that provided Arizona and Hudson with enough cushion to score a resounding victory.

Think the Giants aren't shell-shocked by having AZ come in to their house and punk them twice, against pitchers Matt Cain and Lincecum in successive nights? Think again. The Giants normally dictate games with their pitching. In this series, it's the Diamondbacks pitchers who have shown resolve in getting behind in the game early but showing enough resolve to silence the Giants' bats thereafter while the offense gets in gear.

Sellout crowds at AT&T Park are glum as D-backs president Derrick Hall is shown on TV giving his fellas a standing ovation from the expensive seats. You can almost hear Daron Sutton and Mark Grace smiling through your TV, especially when hard-nosed players like Gerardo Parra slide hard into second base to try and force a mistake. 

That's Kirk Gibson-style ball, and it's working for the Sedona Reds.

On Tuesday, the Giants disintegrated when Arizona took the lead. Reliever Ramon Ramirez surrendered Upton's blast, his 22nd of the season, and Javier Lopez uncorked a wild pitch and surrendered an RBI double to Roberts in the eighth. These were two relievers with miniscule under-2.50 ERAs.

Upton and Goldschmidt weren't just offensive stars. Upton started a double play with a leaping catch of Carlos Beltran's deep fly ball to right in the sixth, then Upton getting the ball back in to double off Jeff Keppinger at first.

Goldschmidt, the kid with so much promise, flagged down a ground ball from Beltran to his right and threw to pitcher Bryan Shaw for the first out of the bottom of the ninth. The Giants' anemic offense is still troubling them as they have lost five games in a row, while Arizona has won four straight.

In a sense, the D-backs are playing with house money. Out of first place since late June, they send newly-acquired Jason Marquis to the hill Wednesday afternoon against Ryan Vogelsong. A win equals a sweep and first place alone; a loss leaves them a game back having won the series and already with a ton of confidence. And Arizona will have its late-inning relievers, David Hernandez and J.J. Putz, well-rested after they were not needed Tuesday. 

Wednesday's game will be televised (it was originally not scheduled for TV) on FSN Arizona at 12:30 p.m.

Baseball in August matters in Arizona once again, and these are the Diamondbacks in August, when games really start to mean a lot more for teams in the chase for the playoffs. 

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