The Cincinnati Reds centerfielder has tried to stay positive even as his average and his spot in the batting order dropped at an alarming rate Andy Isabella Jersey , trying to focus on being a more complete player until his swing returned.
For the first time in a while – far too long for Hamilton’s liking – everything that makes him so effective was on full display Sunday against Pittsburgh. Hamilton went 3 for 4, stole two bases, scored three times and made a pair of vital defensive plays as the Reds held on for an 8-6 victory on Sunday.
Hamilton started the day with a diving grab on the warning track in right-center to rob Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli of extra bases in the first. He ended it by starting the sequence that cut down the potential game-tying run at the plate in the eighth then trotting home in the ninth after Scott Schebler’s two-run shot gave Cincinnati a little extra breathing room.
”Oh my goodness, that’s the best part (is the hitting),” Hamilton said after boosting his average .197. ”I ain’t worried about the catch. The catch is good, but I’m just worried about what I did at the plate. Especially for me, I’ve been struggling, man. Just to have one of these days, it gives you a bunch of confidence and clears your head a little bit.”
Eugenio Suarez homered in the second straight game and Joey Votto celebrated his 1,500th major league contest by going 2 for 4 with two RBIs for the Reds. Schebler added three RBIs for Cincinnati, which won for just the second time in seven tries at PNC Park this season.
Anthony DeSclafani (2-1) surrendered solo home runs to Colin Moran and Gregory Polanco but otherwise kept the Pirates in check to pick up his second victory since his return after missing the entire 2017 season with right elbow issues. DeSclafani struck out four against three hits and a strikeout in 5 2/3 innings and more than once caught himself marveling at Hamilton.
”It’s unbelievable what he can do out there, man Clelin Ferrell Jersey ,” DeSclafani said. ”He saves pitchers all the time and he’s just fun to watch out there. It’s like video game stuff. It’s unbelievable.”
Raisel Iglesias allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth and an RBI-single to Austin Meadows in the ninth but managed to record the final four outs for his 10th save, receiving a bit of help in the process. Iglesias entered with two on and two outs in the eighth and immediately surrendered a double in the gap to Polanco.
Corey Dickerson scored to pull the Pirates within one but Josh Bell was out at home trying to score all the way from first after Hamilton raced to the ball and quickly got it to shortstop Jose Peraza, who fired a strike to home.
The call stood upon review after the Pirates challenged Cincinnati catcher Curt Casali may have illegally blocked the plate.
”I was just thinking head-first slide before he caught it so it was just too late for me to redirect or think anything else at that point,” Bell said, who added he thought Casali ”100 percent” gave him a lane to slide.
Like Hamilton, Polanco has been mired in an extended slump. The Pirates moved him to seventh in the lineup and there are signs he’s on the verge of snapping out of it after going 3 for 3, including his ninth home run of the season.
”Right now I am not thinking about anything, just seeing the ball and hit it,” Polanco said after boosting his average to .211. ”Because my swing the last couple days has been good. I’m not thinking now, I’m just swinging now. And when you’re not thinking your swing is good. So you just want to continue to keep seeing the pitches that you want to hit.”
Joe Musgrove (2-2) had been impressive in his first four starts for the Pirates after starting the year on the disabled list with right-shoulder problems but the Reds jumped on him the second time through the lineup. Cincinnati scored two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth and finished 4 for 9 with runners in scoring position after going 0 for 19 in the same situation over the first two games of the series, both losses.
Musgrove was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings with a walk and six strikeouts as his ERA jumped from 2.16 to 3.68.
”That’s my first day game in a while Josh Oliver Jersey ,” Musgrove said after temperatures soared into the upper 80s. ”Just trying to get my body alert. It was hot out there. I felt drained.”
Reds: off Monday then host Detroit in a brief two-game interleague series starting Tuesday when Sal Romano (3-7, 5.67 ERA) faces Matthew Boyd (4-4, 3.23).
Pirates: Welcome Milwaukee to PNC Park for the first time this season when the Brewers come in for a three-game set starting Monday. Trevor Williams (5-4, 4.38 ERA) faces Jhoulys Chacin (6-1, 3.32) in the opener.
HOUSTON — The Houston Astros enjoyed their share of luck and made some of their own during their 12-game winning streak, but on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, they tasted regression.
Well, at least right fielder George Springer did. Already mired in a miserable slump dating back one month, Springer had a potential game-tying, three-run home run snagged by Toronto right fielder Randal Grichuk with no outs in the ninth inning of the Astros’ 6-3 loss. Grichuk shifted from center field to right in the ninth to make way for standout defender Kevin Pillar.
Instead of pulling the Astros even at 6-all, Springer finished 0-for-5 with a strikeout and three runners stranded. He entered the series with a .196/.322/.353 slash line since May 26, the first game after he improved his OPS to .894 with a robust .305/.367/.527 line through 50 games.
“It sucks http://www.jacksonvillejaguarsteamonline.com/quincy-williams-ii-jersey ,” Springer said. “There’s not really anything else to say about it. It’s tough. It is what it is. They win.”
Despite opening Monday tied with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for the best record in the majors, the Astros (52-28) have been a bit unlucky in close, low-scoring games. While their pitching staff has performed splendidly in the first half of the season, the Astros are just 8-14 in one-run games and dropped to 7-19 when scoring three or fewer runs. Houston has run roughshod over opponents on the road, but the loss to Toronto dropped the Astros to a modest 23-17 at home.
“Baseball can be pretty cruel,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “That’s a tough one. Right off the bat, I thought George got one. It carried and carried and carried and looked like he (Grichuk) had to go pretty deep into the stands to get it. George delivered a great swing. Cruel sport.”
Right-hander Charlie Morton (9-1, 2.74 ERA) will start on Tuesday for the Astros. Morton is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA over two career starts against the Blue Jays, with both coming last season. He has scuffled in June, going 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA while issuing 15 walks and posting six hit batsmen over 21 innings.
Toronto (37-41) will counter with left-hander Ryan Borucki, who will make his major league debut. The Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, Borucki made the climb from Class A Dunedin to Triple-A Buffalo over the past two seasons. He was 6-5 with a 3.27 ERA over 13 starts with the Bison Ryquell Armstead Jersey , recording 58 strikeouts in 77 innings. Borucki was scratched from his start on Sunday.
Selected by Toronto in the 15th round of the 2012 draft, Borucki missed the 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. He slowly reclaimed his strength, logging 135 2/3 innings in 2016 and a career-high 150 1/3 innings last season. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons coyly refused to confirm published reports that Borucki would make his debut, but the secret is out.
“We’ll have the young kid going (Tuesday) so hopefully he gives us some innings,” Gibbons said in response to concerns over his fatigued bullpen. “Nice way to debut.”
When pressed that he accidentally revealed his hand, Gibbons quipped, “You don’t know what young kid. Could be one of three or four of them.”