MILWAUKEE (AP) Forget about his prodigious speed – Billy Hamilton won a game with his bat Friday night.
No need to worry about running out a hit with the way Cincinnati’s leadoff man lined his single to right in the ninth off a fastball from stalwart reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
Hamilton’s hit allowed Zack Cozart to score from second, and Aroldis Chapman shut down the Milwaukee Brewers in the bottom of the ninth to give the Reds a 6-5 win.
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”Somehow my hands were quicker than I thought they would (be) getting on top of the fastball and it was in,” Hamilton said. ”It was just a big win for us.”
Made it easy to forget how the Reds blew a four-run lead in the seventh.
Hamilton added his 25th steal of the season in the ninth for good measure. He’s second in the National League in steals behind Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He was left stranded at third, but his only hit of the night off Rodriguez (2-2) was much more important. The Reds feel like they are building momentum after taking two straight from Los Angeles.
”That was a big comeback win. It’s something that we really haven’t done much of this year,” said starter Homer Bailey, who gave up four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. ”So I think once you start picking up those kinds of wins, and coming back, it becomes contagious.”
Jonathan Broxton (2-0) tossed a scoreless eighth before Chapman struck out two in the ninth for his 11th save.
Hamilton’s hit spoiled a special night for Milwaukee, which unveiled its Wall of Honor before the game. Hall of Famer Hank Aaron and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig were among dignitaries at Miller Park.
The Brewers rallied with four runs in the seventh to tie it at 5 on Carlos Gomez’s RBI double.
But earlier mistakes ultimately caught up to Milwaukee, which tied a season-high with four errors.
Starter Matt Garza had two errors alone on errant throws. The second came after Garza fielded a bunt by Bailey before his hard throw sailed wide of first and into the stands.
The right-hander put his hands on his hips in frustration, but the trouble was just starting to brew.
”It hurt him today,” manager Ron Roenicke said. ”Too bad because he had really good stuff today.”
Bailey later scored on Joey Votto’s single. Votto came around for a four-run lead after Jay Bruce’s double wasn’t fielded cleanly by Khris Davis, who was charged with an error.
Garza went seven innings and allowed seven hits and five runs, including one earned. But the errors still irritated him after the game.
”The guys battled back and we lost it late, but we should have never been in that spot,” Garza said. ”My stuff was too good tonight to do something dumb like that.”
Davis, a young left fielder, atoned for his miscue with his shot in the seventh off the black Caterpillar ad affixed to the second deck above right field. Came on a night, too, when he posed for a picture with the iconic Aaron, who finished his stellar 23-year career in 1976 as a designated hitter for the Brewers in old County Stadium.
Bailey had looked well on his way to winning a fifth straight decision after allowing just one run and three hits through six innings. He even wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the fourth by getting Irving Falu to pop out.
No such luck in the seventh. After Davis’ homer, Bailey allowed two singles before Sam LeCure took over on the mound. After Scooter Gennett’s RBI single, Jonathan Lucroy drove in another run on his 28th birthday by beating out a hard chopper to third before Gomez hit his double.
NOTES: RHP Mat Latos will make his season debut Saturday for Cincinnati. Latos will be activated after spending the first two months of the season recovering from surgeries on his right elbow and left knee. Latos will bump Tony Cingrani (2-7) from the rotation, and manager Bryan Price said he wasn’t sure yet whether the left-hander would be demoted to Triple-A Louisville or sent to the bullpen. … Milwaukee plans to activate LHP Tom Gorzelanny before Saturday’s game. The reliever began the season on the DL following offseason shoulder surgery. … RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-4) will start Saturday for the Brewers.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP