PHOENIX, AZ: Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a solo home run against the Colorado Rockies during the ninth inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Actually, that headline is somewhat deceptive.
Oh, there's definitely video (no reading ahead!). But home runs or no, the Arizona Diamondbacks were going to enter this weekend in first place. The only question, entering Thursday night's home game against the Houston Astros, was if they would own first place ... or co-own it, with the defending World's Champions.
They own it. The team that lost 97 games last season leads the team that won the World Series by one whole game in the National League West.
In the bottom of the ninth, Astros closer Mark Melancon jogged in from the bullpen to protect a 5-3 lead. Kelly Johnson led off, and struck out. Xavier Nady reached on an infield single. With the pitcher's spot due next, rookie Paul Goldschmidt, with all of one major-league home run to his name, joined the proceedings as a pinch-hitter for just the first time in his infantile career.
Goldschmidt took a ball. Goldschmidt took a strike. Goldschmidt took a ball. Goldschmidt took a strike. Goldschmidt got a curveball and fouled it off. Goldschmidt got another curveball and fouled it off. Goldschmidt got a fastball and absolutely crushed it for a game-tying home run.
In the top of the 10th, Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz dispatched the Astros in quick order.
In the bottom of the 11th, Jeff Fulchino replaced Melancon on the mound. Ryan Roberts led off, with a single up the middle that didn't escape the infield but came close enough. Justin Upton followed with a shot into right field that almost struck Roberts, who had to hold at second base.
With lefty-hitting Miguel Montero due next, Astros manager Brad Mills summoned lefty-throwing Sergio Escalona from the bullpen. Montero lifted a fly ball to short right field, with both runners holding.
Next up: Chris Young, who hadn't hit a home run since the 2nd of July and was batting .167 since the All-Star break. Up in the TV booth, Mark Grace couldn't believe that Mills would allow the lefty-throwing Escalona to face the righty-hitting Young, even with Young's terrible struggles in recent weeks. Young's got excellent career numbers against southpaws; against right-handers, not so much. But Mills left Escalona in the game. Grace considered this an insult to Chris Young, and essentially predicted that Young would make Mills pay.
I guess you already know what happened. After taking Ball 1, Chris Young destroyed a fastball down the middle for a game-ending, slump-busting, celebration-inducing three-run home run. You know, like this:
In the end, it might be just another thrilling home run that sent the fans home deliriously happy. Or it might be remembered as the exact moment at which the Arizona Diamondbacks believed they really were better than the World's Champions.