CLEVELAND -- Just a few minutes earlier, the fireworks had burst and the music had blared as the Indians were celebrating what they thought was a one-run win over the Reds on a rainy Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
But the only sound Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton could hear was the wind whistling in his ears as he blazed around the bases to score the game-winning run in an improbable 4-3 victory over the Indians.
They say speed kills. On this night, it certainly killed the Indians. Twice the Indians had a chance to end the game and twice Hamilton said "not so fast."
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With men on first and second with one out in the ninth, Hamilton appeared to hit into a stellar 3-6-3 double play that closed with a bang-bang play at first to end the game.
But Reds manager Bryan Price challenged the out call at first as the Indians gathered to celebrate their win, and the call was overturned. That left Hamilton at first and pinch-runner Arismendy Alcantara on third, with two outs and shortstop Zack Cozart at the plate facing Tribe closer Cody Allen, who had not blown a save all season.
Allen threw Cozart a 1-0 fastball that was lined hard into short left field. Michael Brantley sprinted in and dove to make the catch, but he could not make the play. It would have been a heck of a game-ending catch: He had only a 16-percent catch probability, according to Statcast™, meaning it would have been a five-star catch.
After diving, Brantley had trouble locating the ball, and that was all the blazing Hamilton needed. Running on the pitch, Hamilton never broke stride and scored the go-ahead run in a mad dash home in less than 9 seconds, a barrier broken only seven previous times in the Statcast™ Era. Hamilton himself holds the record, at 8.23 seconds last May 7.
"As soon as I saw him dive, that was my key just to go," Hamilton said. "In my head the whole time, I'm like, 'We've got the tying run.' I had 'score' in my head the whole time once I saw him dive. I didn't see [third-base coach Billy] Hatcher. I didn't look at Hatcher. I was going to go no matter what, even if he tried to stop me. It's just something that I made up in my mind rounding second."
Once Brantley found the ball, he didn't even attempt a throw home as Hamilton scored standing up and raced into the dugout, where he was mobbed by his teammates.
"When I rounded first, I was kind of shocked it even made it," Cozart said. "Brantley almost caught it. I was shocked. Then when I looked up, I saw [the ball] on the ground and looked where Billy was. I knew he had no chance to get Billy, too. So I was just pumped. I knew he was coming in and we had a good chance to win."
Added Price: "There's not many other guys that are going to score on that play or are going to be able to beat out that ball."
Dealt his first loss of 2017, and his first blown save since Aug. 17, 2016, Allen made no excuses.
"Obviously, you think it's over right there, but once they challenge it, you have to take a step back and get ready just in case. I was ready," Allen said. "I'm not going to say that Zack Cozart got a base hit because of that. He hit a pretty good pitch."
Added Indians manager Terry Francona: "It's kind of hard once you think the game's over, you kind of let your emotion go. If there's anybody that I would trust to reel it back in, it's Cody."
It all started with Hamilton's first dash -- a 4.13-second sprint from home to first to beat out what would have been the game-ending double play.
"From just looking, I thought Billy was safe," Cozart said. "Then when they showed the first replay, I don't know why it took so long for them to make the safe call. It looked right away to me that he was safe. Then once I saw that, I was focused on getting my timing because Allen was throwing pitches on the mound."
"It's a tough play," said Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, who initiated the 3-6-3 double play attempt with a great catch and quick throw to second. "The umpire, he called him out, but with baseball now, there's replay. I think he's out, so I was very excited. But the umpires called him safe, and that's why we lost the game."
Just last week at Wrigley Field, the Reds lost a game on a final-play challenge that was overturned against the Cubs. Joey Votto was originally called safe on a two-out grounder to second base after a throw pulled Anthony Rizzo's foot off the bag. While Votto looked safe, replay officials overturned the call -- leaving Price and Cincinnati fuming.
"I was concerned," Price said. "The thing that's tough about that is if you're able to see things on the video, and then they don't match up with the final call from New York, and you don't have anyone from New York to complain to, it just rips your heart out."
On this night, it was the Indians that had their hearts ripped out.
"Any time you can kind of snatch a win like that, so late," Cozart said, "and they have their guy on the mound, you pull out a victory, that's a big, big thing for sure."