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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Billy Hamilton Scored On A Wild Pitch As Reds Win Pitching Duel

Billy Hamilton sprinted home and scored the only run of the game with a head first slide on a ball that barely eluded Milwaukee Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy.  The pitch was ruled a wild pitch originally but was changed to a passed ball.  Other than making the run an unearned run, it didn't tarnish the Reds series win over the Brewers.

Hamilton walked with two outs in the ninth inning of a scoreless tie. Will Smith the lone left-hander in the Brewers bullpen relieved Tyler Thornburg.  Votto drew a walk, bringing long time Brewer killer Jay Bruce to the plate. Hamilton stole third and scored when Smith's 1-0 pitch skipped away from Jonathan Lucroy to make the Reds a 1-0 winner. 

Hamilton took advantage of the shift that Brewers manager Craig Counsel used against Bruce.  The Brewers were going to take their chances with Hamilton stealing third.

"More bad things can happen trying to throw him out than letting him steal third," Counsel said. ""The pitched that Hamilton scored on was a slider down and away. It got a swing and miss. The ball scooted away from Lucroy but Hamilton is one of the few players who could score on a ball like that."

Hamilton has the speed to get farther off the base and the ability to get back if opponents try the back pick.

"Billy is THAT guy," Bryan Price said. "He affects the game. He changes the look of the game.  He creates a lot of anxiety on the base paths. That ball didn't get that far away from Lucroy.  That ability of his to start and stop creates the opportunity."

It wasn't exactly Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner but young Zach Davies from the Milwaukee Brewers and Dan Straily of the Reds matched zeroes on Sunday afternoon.

Straily, who turned in a quality start in each of his last two outings, shut out the Brewers on three hits through frames. Ramon Flores doubled with two outs in the fifth and Jonathan Villar walked to lead off the sixth. While striking out Ryan Braun, Villar stole second and reached third on a throwing error by Tucker Barnhart.

Straily left after seven scoreless innings.  He allowed three hits and walked one while striking out three.

"It was his best pitched game," Price said. "It was not because of the seven scoreless innings. It was his pitch efficiency.  He was confident."

"I was able to throw my fastball where I wanted to, when I wanted to," Straily said.  "I felt good. The All-Star break is designed to allow us to refresh and I really felt good today."

The Reds had its best opportunity to score off Davies in the first inning.  Zack Cozart singled and Billy Hamilton bunted for a base hit.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis saved a run with a diving catch of Adam Duvall's blooper to center to end the inning.

Davies also pitched seven innings allowing four hits, striking out five with no walks. He retired the last 11 batters he faced.

Michael Lorenzen took over for Straily.  He walked pinch hitter Andy Wilkins, who was forced at second by Villar.  Villar hustled down the firstbase line to avoid the double play.  Scooter Gennett singled but Lorenzen fielded Braun's weak grounder and beat Braun to firstbase. Lorenzen has allowed one earned run in his last 8 2/3 innings.

Tyler Thornburg took over for Davies in the eighth and threw a perfect inning.

Tony Cingrani started the ninth for the Reds and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

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