CINCINNATI -- Defense doesn't normally get the type of kudos following a 7-3 loss like the Reds' outfield did against the Padres on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park. However, starting pitcher Sal Romano might have been staring at a bigger deficit had it not been for stellar plays
CINCINNATI -- Defense doesn't normally get the type of kudos following a 7-3 loss like the Reds' outfield did against the Padres on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park. However, starting pitcher Sal Romano might have been staring at a bigger deficit had it not been for stellar plays by his outfield.
Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton made two great catches, including a candidate for play of the year, while left fielder Adam Duvall also turned a double play following a superb catch in left field.
"It's a special outfield, in particular those two guys that came up big tonight," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Hamilton has had many crashes into the fence, but few have left him laughing on the ground afterward. To start the third inning, he robbed Carlos Asuaje of extra bases with a basket catch as he leaped into the wall.
"It's a different story if I miss it. If I missed it, I would still be laying down there hurting and everything," Hamilton said. "When you catch it, that feeling goes away."
Asuaje launched a 3-1 fastball from Romano to straightaway center field. Hamilton, who was playing shallow with a starting position of 293 feet from home plate, according to Statcast™, covered 106 feet as he ran back to the wall to track the ball.
As Hamilton took to the air, he made a slight mid-flight adjustment to make the catch before smacking into the fence and landing flat on his back at the warning track.
"I hit it, and I see him turn his back right away. He's running back and I see him slow down a bit," Asuaje said. "I'm like 'OK, either it's over the fence or he's going to rob this.' I just kept going just in case. I saw him hit the wall. I didn't see him come down with it. When I saw the replay, I was like, 'That's unbelievable, an unbelievable catch.'"
After Asuaje was called out, Hamilton remained on his back for a moment and could be seen laughing before being helped up by right fielder Jesse Winker. Duvall also came over from left field to tap gloves with him out of respect after having a great view of another great Hamilton catch.
"It's one of those plays you don't expect to make every night. I actually thought it was gone at first," Hamilton said. "That's why I had to kind of react to it and come back to the left side. … I thought it was going to be way further than what is was. So I had to make an adjustment and make a play. It was fun."
The bottom of the second inning ended when Hamilton grounded a ball to Asuaje, who reacted quickly to make a nice double play.
"It's one thing I hate doing, hitting into double plays. I don't do it a lot," Hamilton said. "He turned it great, too. It's one of those where you get out like that, you want to get the same guy no matter what."
In the fifth inning against Cory Spangenberg, Duvall took away a hit with a catch and crash of his own into the left-field fence. He then aired his throw to shortstop Zack Cozart, who relayed to Joey Votto at first base to double up Yangervis Solarte for to end the inning.
To end the sixth inning, Hamilton made a lengthy run to right-center field and got Asuaje again with a diving catch.
"I saw him chasing it, he laid out and the ball goes right in his glove," Asuaje said. "I was just like, 'Eh, it's not my day, I guess.'"
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.