CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton created disruption on the bases and a difference in a game -- that's nothing new. Nor is the fact Hamilton once again made the opponent's defensive decisions more complicated for his own team's benefit.But the Reds sure do appreciate it. They had a
CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton created disruption on the bases and a difference in a game -- that's nothing new. Nor is the fact Hamilton once again made the opponent's defensive decisions more complicated for his own team's benefit.
But the Reds sure do appreciate it. They had a lot to like during their 5-4 win over the Brewers, but Hamilton's fingerprints were all over the final outcome.
In the fourth inning with one out, Hamilton made it a 1-1 game when he scored from second base on Adam Duvall's ground ball to the third baseman. Will Middlebrooks flipped to second baseman Scooter Gennett, who made a throw to first base that was not in time for an inning-ending double play. Hamilton never stopped running and scored with a headfirst slide ahead of Chris Carter's throw to the plate.
"I thought it was hit hard enough [that] they would try and turn a double play," said Hamilton, who had reached on an infield single and advanced to second base on a ground ball. "I got that chance to keep going. You can't practice that. You have to have the instincts to do it and not be afraid of getting thrown out right there."
Perhaps Gennett could've thrown to the plate, or Villar could've possibly tried for a more risky play at third base where everybody ends up safe.
"We talk about how do you defend it, how do you prepare for it," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's the only guy in baseball who scores there, and even tries, probably. It's what his speed does."
Hamilton also credited Duvall for not giving up on the play.
"If he wasn't hustling, it would have been an easy double play," Hamilton said.
In the seventh inning with the Reds leading, 4-3, Hamilton bunted for a one-out single and induced All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy's error throw to first base to take second base. Hamilton scored easily on Jay Bruce's two-out double to the wall in left-center field.
That proved to be the difference in the game.
"It's just something I really want to get better at," said Hamilton, who has four bunt hits in 2016. "Me bunting, your confidence can go down a little bit, but it's something they want me to do and something I want to do. I've been working on it more and more. It's coming along slowly."
On July 5 vs. the Cubs, Hamilton scored from second base on a passed ball. During his rookie season in 2014 at St. Louis, he tagged up and scored on a pop out -- to second base. In the field, he's made numerous spectacular plays using his speed to track down balls others can't reach.
Much like during Aroldis Chapman's tenure in Cincinnati, when his throwing over 100 mph became commonplace, Hamilton making things happen with his speed has become blasé in some ways.
"You hate to say 'Take it for granted,' but you're not as awed by it when you see it with a frequency," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "You almost now expect Billy to make those plays over the wall or laying out at the warning track or running halfway up the outfield fence to bring a ball back. It isn't stuff that anyone should get used to seeing. Those are really special plays."
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.