Found August 01, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
LOS ANGELES In his 365 days in the major leagues, Paul Goldschmidt has hit 23 home runs, been a part of 89 victories, won an NL West pennant and started four playoff games, where he hit two more homers. He does belong. Goldschmidt celebrated the anniversary of his promotion Wednesday by making perhaps the base running play of the year and an enemy for a lot longer. Goldschmidt set up the Diamondbacks' first run by tagging up on a 40-foot foul popup, the wow factor in a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers that completed a three-game sweep and pushed them to 54-51. They are three games over .500 for the first time since April 17, one of the darkest days of the season, the day Chris Young suffered a debilitating shoulder injury. It was the kind of play made for a MENSA highlight reel. Goldschmidt singled to open the second inning before Justin Upton attempted to drop a bunt down the third-base line for a hit. Goldschmidt returned to first when the ball went foul behind the plate. Catcher A.J. Ellis made a sliding grab, and when he could not get to his feet, Goldschmidt took off for second and make it easily. Miguel Montero followed with an RBI-single. It was 1-0, all that Patrick Corbin and three relievers would need. Corbin gave up two singles in six shutout innings in his first game back in the rotation after being recalled from Class AAA Reno. The D-backs outscored the Dodgers, 19-4, in the series, got three quality starts and hit two home runs in each game. But it was Goldschmidt's play that put a gleam in manager Kirk Gibson's eye. "You like that?" Gibson said. "That really sets a good tone for us. It's a smart play. It's a teammate showing everybody what's available to you. He's definitely on it. He's prepared for every situation. It didn't surprise me. When I saw him catch it, I immediately looked at 'Goldy.' A great thought. He wants to get better, and most of all he wants to help his team win. "No question, I don't think everybody does that on our team or on anybody's team. But 'Goldy' is a guy you would understand would do that or be prepared to do that." For Goldschmidt, it was Baseball 101. "If he makes a diving catch, I can make a run for it. I took a few hard steps and saw he was kind of off-balance, and I put my head down and kept going. That's what we're taught. Any foul ball you can't go anywhere, so the only option you have is to tag up. Worst-case scenario, he catches it and I'm standing on the bag," he said. Goldschmidt, who had eight hits and two homers in the series, turned up the rivalry a few degrees later in the game, when he slid hard into second base on a force out in the eighth inning, clipping Dodgers' second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. on the right shin to prevent a possible double play with the D-backs' holding a 2-0 lead. Montero had his back again, hitting a two-run home run to center for the final two runs. Montero had six RBIs in the final two games of the series after hitting a three-run homer in an 8-2 victory Tuesday. "My thinking is, there are possibly going to turn a double play. My thinking is to go in and break it up. You are not trying to hurt anyone, but you are in there so he can't get the throw off. Hopefully he is all right," Goldschmidt said. Hairston stayed on the ground for several moments and was attended to by the Dodgers' training staff before the game resumed. He finished the eighth inning but was replaced in the ninth with a bruised right shin. He said video showed that Goldschmidt started his slide later than normal. "That was a very, very dirty play. There is no way around it. There is no excuse. We went back and looked at the video tape. He went beyond the bag. There is no other way to look at it. He could have broken my leg," Hairston said. "I know they pride themselves on playing hard and for the most part they do. I respect their coaching staff. A lot of those guys, my dad played against them. I played against 'E.Y.' (D-backs first base coach Eric Young.) They do a lot of things the right way. That one play was the wrong way. "It's a shame, because he is a very good player. I played against him in the playoffs last year. Very impressed. I really like him as a player. I still like him as a player. It's just you can't do that. You don't go to injure somebody. Obviously you don't forget that." The teams meet six more times this season in an NL West that seems likely to remain contentious for the rest of the season. The Dodgers have nine games remaining against NL West leader San Francisco, including the final three of the regular season at Dodger Stadium. While those contenders added bigger names, the D-backs got six shutout innings from new starter Corbin and another home run from Chris Johnson, whose bases-empty homer in the fourth made it 2-0. Johnson was 6-for-11 with two homers and seven RBIs in his first series with the D-backs after joining them Sunday. "This is a great lineup to hit in. I'm just trying to do my part," Johnson said. Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter
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