DENVER -- For anyone else, it was a routine single through the middle, but speedy Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton doesn't do routine singles.During the Reds' 7-2 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday, they notched a three-run second inning, with Hamilton providing two of the key runs. It was a
DENVER -- For anyone else, it was a routine single through the middle, but speedy Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton doesn't do routine singles.
During the Reds' 7-2 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday, they notched a three-run second inning, with Hamilton providing two of the key runs. It was a 2-1 game, with runners on second and third base against Tyler Chatwood, when Hamilton grounded a hit through the middle and into center field.
Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon retrieved the slow-rolling ball in right-center field, and Hamilton immediately saw an opportunity for two bases.
"It's kind of tough when you go right at him," Hamilton said. "If he goes a couple of steps to the left or right, there's always a chance, especially when I'm coming out of the box at full speed from the get-go thinking double."
Blackmon made a couple of steps to his left and by the time he rushed his throw to second base, Hamilton was already sliding in headfirst with a two-run double.
"I think what I did was I just focused on just the ball too much," Blackmon said. "Took my time fielding the ball and needed to come get it and try to keep him on first."
According to Statcast™, Hamilton hit a maximum speed of 21.8 mph. Although that didn't rank in the top 25 in terms of speed (the Tigers' Jose Iglesias reached 27.8 mph this season), it's a reminder that fielders always need to be on their toes when Hamilton puts a ball in play.
"That's what I always think every time I hit the ball," Hamilton said. "I always think double no matter what. You never know if they'll be lazy to the ball or jog to the ball. You can score from second way easier than if you score from first."
Hamilton, who was 3-for-5 in the game with two doubles, also stole second base with Joey Votto standing in the batter's box during the ninth inning. After Votto was intentionally walked, he pulled off a double steal with Hamilton, who then scored when catcher Dustin Garneau's throw to get Votto bounced and got away.
After struggling last season and the start of 2016, Hamilton is batting .314 over the last 15 games since May 18 and raised his overall average to .255/.300/.376.
"The whole year, the ups and downs and everything, but it's just something I'm work on every single day trying to get to where I really want to be," Hamilton said.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.