Hamilton Stars, Bunts Confound. Reds 6, Astros 5.

Billy Hatcher popping the Nationals' bubble. - Bob Levey

Billy Hamilton just stole my heart. Bunts just turned my brain to goop.

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Billy Hamilton went positively bonkers from his almost leadoff position tonight, and he was the single driving force behind the Cincinnati Reds' sweep of the Houston Astros.  Hamilton, who hit 9th tonight in his first career start, went 3 for 4, walked twice, scored twice, drove in a run, doubled, and stole four bases - two of which came on pitch-outs from the Astros - en route to reminding all Reds fans exactly what they were so excited about at this point in 2012.  Hamilton became the first player since 1920 to steal 4 bases in his MLB debut, and he made it look so easy you'd think there was a minor league team trying to stop him.  Wait...

Extremely Honorary Mention is duly deserved by: Jay Bruce, who of late has been the drive-in jelly to the on-base peanut butter brought by the top of the lineup, and tonight that included 2 walks, 3 doubles, and 3 crucial RsBI - including the game winner in the Top of the 13th; Alfredo Simon, who was tasked with pitching 3 innings (and 53 pitches!) after just one day of rest following pitching 3 innings against the Astros on Monday, and who responded by keeping the Astros scoreless long enough for the Reds to get the W; and Shin-Soo Choo, who went a ho-hum 1 for 3 with 4 (four!) walks and 2 runs scored.

Key Plays

  • Scoring initially came early and often for the Reds.  In the Top of the 1st, Choo led off with a walk, moved to 2B on a Votto walk, and came around to score when Bruce doubled.  Votto moved to 3B on Hova's double, and he then scored on Ryan Ludwick's only reasonable plate appearance of the evening, a sac fly.  Reds led, 2-0.
  • The Reds picked up another run in the Top of the 2nd when Billy Hamilton brought his own special blend of havoc to the big leagues.  Hamilton hit an opposite field double, and he came in to score easily on a routine single from Choo.  Reds led, 3-0.
  • Bro Dude Man Brah Barnes led off the Bottom of the 3rd with a solo homer off Reds' starter Greg Reynolds to get the Astros on the board, and the bad guys added another in the Bottom of the 4th when a Carlos Corporan sac fly scored Marc Krauss.  Reds led, 3-2.
  • I'm not making these names up, I promise.
  • Todd Frazier reached on an error to lead off the Top of the 6th to end up on 2B, and he moved to 3B on a productive ground out from Zack Cozart.  Frazier then came in to score on a shot from Hamilton to that hit third base and allowed him to reach 1B.  Reds led, 4-2.
  • The Reds' fan was assaulted by proverbial excrement in the Bottom of the 6th, as Logan Ondrusek and Manny Parra ran into some issues.  Chris Carter opted to not catch a touchdown, and instead doubled with one out, and Hoes...man, there's a joke here, but it's nearly 2 AM Eastern Time, and I just can't quite drop the bass on it.  Whatever.  Astros scored twice.  Game tied, 4-4.
  • BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS end of rally.
  • BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS end of rally.
  • BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS end of rally.
  • In the Top of the 13th, the Reds finally righted the ship thanks to, of course, Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce.  Hamilton led things off with a walk, stole second, watched Choo walk, moved up a base on a wild pitch (along with Choo), saw Votto walked intentionally, and saw Jay Bruce miss his 2nd Grand Slam in as many nights by mere feet with a double off the wall before coming in to score alongside Choo.  Aroldis Chapman farted around a bit in the Bottom of the 13th, but c'mon...it was the Astros.  Some dude scored, some dude struck out, and the good guys saw the smiling side of the scoreboard yet again.  Reds win, 6-5!

FanGraph Section that yawwwwnnnnnnnnn BUNT BUNT BUNT BUNT BUNT BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!


Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • If that's the Billy Hamilton we can expect, that's the Reds jersey I'm buying next year and wearing 'til it falls the hell apart in a decade.
  • I leave for China in about 6 minutes.  I'm not packed, but I am drinking champagne...so there's that.
  • BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS BUNTS!
  • That's a sweep, and a timely one at that.  While the Filthy Cards managed a win, both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals lost, so the Reds at least inched closer to a chance at being guaranteed of hosting at least one home playoff game.  The Reds are idle tomorrow while the rest of the NL Central contenders get off their butts and try to catch up in the Games Played column.  Root for doom.
  • Tunes?  Tunes.
  • Former KMiB neighbor tunes?  Former KMiB neighbor tunes!  More?  MOAR!
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