PITTSBURGH -- When the guy who was just robbed of a hit applauds the catch, it must have been really good.In the bottom of the first inning of the Reds' 8-6 win over the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park, Francisco Cervelli hit a two-out drive to deep right-center field.
PITTSBURGH -- When the guy who was just robbed of a hit applauds the catch, it must have been really good.
In the bottom of the first inning of the Reds' 8-6 win over the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park, Francisco Cervelli hit a two-out drive to deep right-center field. Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton reacted quickly, sprinting toward the wall before laying out to make a diving snowcone catch on the warning track.
"That has to be up there with one of my top plays," Hamilton said. "That one, I came in and I was like, 'I don't know how I caught that one. I don't even know how I got close to it.'"
According to Statcast™, the play had only a 2 percent catch probability, tied with a catch by Milwaukee's Lorenzo Cain on March 30 for lowest this season. Hamilton covered 83 feet of ground in 4.3 seconds and reached a sprint speed of 30.1 feet per second.
Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani was the biggest beneficiary of the superb effort. At the time, it was a scoreless game.
"He saves pitchers all the time. He's just fun to watch out there. It's like video game stuff," said DeSclafani, who was aided by Hamilton last Sunday in a win vs. St. Louis with a great throw that nailed a runner at the plate.
Watching the play as he rounded first base, Cervelli clapped after Hamilton secured the ball for the third out. He removed his helmet and also gestured his appreciation with raised arms and a smile.
"That was unbelievable. I think that's the only person who can catch that ball. It's amazing," Cervelli said.
Hamilton was still laying on his back trying to gather himself and didn't see Cervelli's appreciation of a good catch.
"I was just so excited I made the catch and we got out of the inning with the play," Hamilton said. "[Cervelli] is one of those guys, he always gives credit where credit is due. Even when you get a nice hit or something, he'll let you know that it was a great hit."
• LISTEN: Morning Lineup Podcast on Hamilton's catch
The crowd at PNC Park also didn't seem to mind that Cervelli missed out on a hit, either: Pirates fans acknowledged the great catch with loud applause as Hamilton returned to the dugout.
"These are some great fans over here," Hamilton said. "They've always been great to me in the outfield. You can go some places where there are mean fans, like disrespectful fans. This is one stadium I can come to and enjoy myself, relax and play baseball."
Perhaps Hamilton's play energized him for the rest of the day. He was 3-for-4 with three singles, two stolen bases and three runs scored. Entering the day, he was 3-for-40 over his last 12 games with 15 strikeouts and batting .187 overall.
"You make a play like that, you're like, 'OK, something good has got to happen.' I feel great, my body is feeling great, I just made a nice catch. I just take that happiness into the at-bat," Hamilton said. "That was an exciting catch for me coming into the at-bat, like, 'Oh yeah, let's go.' That's the boost I need."
Hamilton had one more strong defensive play in the eighth inning on Gregory Polanco's RBI double that made it 6-5. He made a perfect relay throw from right-center field to Jose Peraza, who threw to the plate to get Josh Bell and prevent the tying run from scoring.
"I know once I get it out of my hands and get it to those guys, they are going to make great decisions," Hamilton said. "Peraza did a great job of getting the ball home and it was a big stop for us, to be honest with you."
Interim manager Jim Riggleman likes the consistent extra effort on defense Hamilton provides.
"We see him giving us tremendous plays regardless of whether he's struggling with the bat or not," Riggleman said.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.