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ARI@SF: Goldschmidt blasts his first career home run

SAN FRANCISCO -- Welcome to a pennant race, Paul Goldschmidt.

The D-backs rookie first baseman hit a key two-run homer to lead his club past the Giants, 6-1, and into a tie for first place in the National League West.

Just five days ago, the Giants held a four-game lead in the division, but while the D-backs have won four straight and eight of 10, the Giants have dropped five straight.

"This means it's going to be a fight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's going to be a tight race. Not that we didn't think it's going to be."

"I hope nobody's hitting the panic button quite yet," Giants ace Tim Lincecum said.

Goldschmidt, an eighth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, had his contract selected from Double-A Mobile on Monday where he was leading the Minor Leagues in homers with 30. In his debut, Monday night he was 1-for-4 with a couple of hard-hit balls off Matt Cain.

Tuesday he got to face Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, and Goldschmidt once again showed he was not be intimidated.

After popping out in his first at-bat, Goldschmidt connected with a 2-1 fastball in the fifth and drove it deep into the seats in left.

"We know he's had power in the Minor Leagues, and to come up here in this environment and do what he's doing so far has been a huge lift for us," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

"[Lincecum] fell behind 2-0, then he threw a fastball up and away and I chased it," Goldschmidt said. "And then he came back with another fastball middle of the plate and I was able to get extended on it. You're always looking for something to drive and I was just lucky I was able to get it."

The way Daniel Hudson was pitching, Goldschmidt's homer was all the offense the D-backs needed, though they would get a two-run homer by Justin Upton later in the game for insurance as well as another two runs in the ninth.

Hudson (11-7) snapped a two-start losing streak by allowing just one run on six hits over eight innings.

"I was just trying to throw strikes with all my pitches," Hudson said. "I was moving the ball in and out and mixing some offspeed pitches in there in hitter's counts to keep them off balance."

Before he helped with his bat, Upton contributed with his glove in the sixth.

At the time, the D-backs were clinging to a 2-1 lead and the Giants had a runner on first with one out. Newly acquired outfielder Carlos Beltran crushed a ball to right. Upton, running at full speed, jumped and extended fully to snare the ball on the track before bracing himself as he hit the wall. He then whirled and fired to first to double off Jeff Keppinger and end the Giants threat.

"I didn't think he'd get to that ball, but he did and he killed the rally," Bochy said.

The first two games of the series, both played in front of sellout crowds, have had a playoff feel about them.

"All around a well-played game by everyone," Gibson said. "Good baseball game today, very electric, lot of energy from the first pitch on both sides, top-notch game, very clean, well-fought baseball game."

Success at AT&T Park is a new experience for the D-backs, who entered this series having lost 17 of their last 21 games there.

"It's huge," Hudson said of winning in San Francisco. "It's a big monkey off our back. This team on the other side is so good. They pitch well, they go after hitters, they know how to play the game the right way. They may not have superstar players over there, but they play the game the right way and we just try to go out there and do the same thing."

In the buildup to the series and into the first two games, the D-backs have professed nothing but respect for the Giants and have done their best to play up their underdog status in the race.

"It's a lot of fun, but we all know we have a long way to go," Hudson said. "Our ultimate goal is to get into October, and we've got to come through San Francisco to get there. We've got a long way to go and we've got a lot of games left against these guys and our division, so we're going to take the good with the bad and go to work every day." Comments