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Billy Hamilton’s big day leads Reds to rare win over Cardinals

Eleven walks and some timely hitting sure helped, too.

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Some solid defense sure helped the cause, too.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Billy Hamilton has had his share of struggles so far in 2018. Of course, he’s also had the shares of about five other players, too, but on Sunday he showed the kind of tantalizing upside that has kept him in the Cincinnati Reds lineup for years despite those otherwise obvious limitations.

He tripled, walked, scored twice, took an extra base on a wild pitch that nobody else would have, threw out a pair of runners from CF, and added not one, but two leaping catches at the CF wall for good measure. On the same day that news came out that he’s once again considering abandoning his switch-hitting, he sure as heck looked like a would-be competent big leaguer once again, which was quite the pleasant change of pace.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who walked four times and scored; Tucker Barnhart, who singled in a run, scored, and walked twice; Amir Garrett, who fired a perfect inning of relief with a K; Eugenio Suarez, who singled, walked, was hit by a pitch, and drove in a run; and Jared Hughes, who fired two more scoreless innings to pick up the save.

Key Plays

  • A Matt Carpenter single and back to back walks loaded the bases against Disco in the Top of the 3rd, and insanity ensued after that. Marcell Ozuna clobbered a ball to LF that initially looked like a great Jesse Winker catch and baserunning gaffe by Tommy Pham that resulted in a sac-fly RBI and inning-ending double-play, but replay overturned it after video show the ball bounced off the wall first. So, that wiped two outs off the board and turned it into an RBI single, and a sac-fly later tacked on another run. Reds trailed, 2-0.
  • Billy smacked his triple to the wall in left-center in the Bottom of the 3rd, and he trotted home a batter later on Scott Schebler’s RBI groundout. Reds trailed, 2-1.
  • The Reds chased Carlos Martinez before he could escape the Bottom of the 4th, and they did so with a 4-spot that came with 2-outs. Billy coaxed a walk, and he ended up on 3B after ball four to Schebler went to the backstop. Hamilton then scored on Barnhart’s RBI single, and after Votto walked to load the bases, back to back singles from Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez plated a trio of runs. Reds led, 5-2.
  • Anthony DeSclafani exited after allowing a pair of runners in the Top of the 6th. Amir Garrett entered and got a pop-out to RF by Yairo Munoz, but on Schebler’s throw home - in which the runner on 3B had been held up - the ball kicked off Barnhart’s glove, over the leaping Garrett, and into the dugout to allow a run to score in the most bullshit Reds-y way possible. The run was charged to Disco, of course, but Garrett fortunately pitched his way around the rest of the would-be damage. Reds led, 5-3.
  • Brett Cecil was all over the place in the Bottom of the 7th, walking both Suarez and Jesse Winker to start the inning. A TOOTBLAN on a wild pitch left Suarez out and Winker on 2B, but he eventually scored on a pinch-hit single by Adam Duvall, which put the Reds ahead, 6-3 - and that lead held up thanks to more dominance from Hughes.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Anthony DeSclafani waffled between being quite sharp and leaving pitches up in the zone, but certainly flashed the kind of stuff that made me think the good ol’ Disco we’ve seen when healthy is both still in there and juuuust about ready to be on full display every fifth day. He didn’t get a chance to pitch out of the 6th inning jam he created - Jim Riggleman pulled him with 2-on and none out after just 85 pitches - and had one inherited runner score, but his final line (5+ IP, 10 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 6 K) at least flashed some promise.
  • Disco also hit 95 mph with his fastball, and while velocity isn’t at all his calling card, that sure as heck showed he’s feeling healthy.
  • The Reds walked 11 times on the day, which is not not a lot. Speaking of which, Votto’s 4 walk day raised his season OBP to .433, and after Freddie Freeman started his game for the Atlanta Braves 0 for 1, that dropped his season OBP to .431 - ergo, Votto’s now the NL leader in that category once again.
  • The Reds have the day off on Monday, and on Tuesday they’ll begin a quick two-game interleague road series against the Kansas City Royals. Sal Romano will get one more chance to show that his 6.23 ERA to date isn’t representative of what he’s capable of providing, and he’ll be opposed by Royals starter Ian Kennedy. First pitch Tuesday is set for 8:15 PM ET.
  • Tunes.