Reds 9, Rockies 3

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Add two more homers and two more ovations to Josh Hamilton’s inspiring comeback story.

Hamilton completed his sensational series with a pair of homers on Sunday, and the Cincinnati Reds snapped their four-game losing streak with a 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

“You can’t help but feel good about it,” Hamilton said.

Even those who can’t figure out how to get him out come away feeling good about what they’re seeing from the 25-year-old outfielder.

“He’s as good a rookie as there is right now,” said Josh Fogg, who gave up Hamilton’s first homer. “He had a good series, put some good swings on some good pitches, hit the ball hard all series long.

“It’s good to see a guy who has battled through adversity and been able to come back and do that—I wish it wasn’t against us. But it’s good to see a guy that’s been able to turn his life around like that.”

The NL’s rookie of the month for April did it all during the middle game of the series—two singles, a double, a triple, a stolen base and a diving catch in the Rockies’ 9-7 win on Saturday night. All he needed for the cycle was a homer.

That came a day later.

His two-run shot off Fogg (1-3) put Cincinnati in position to salvage the final game of the series. Hamilton’s solo drive off reliever Alberto Arias in his next at-bat drew the latest ovation in his comeback from years of drug abuse.

Hamilton stood on a riser in the dugout and raised his batting helmet to acknowledge the crowd of 27,915, which wouldn’t stop applauding until he took a curtain call after his eighth homer.

“An awesome feeling,” Hamilton said. “A lot of people don’t get that experience. Just to be back here is a blessing.”

The crowd was on its feet again after his over-the-shoulder catch robbed Brad Hawpe in center field in the eighth. Hamilton also threw out speedy Willy Taveras, who was trying to go from first to third on a single.

“A week ago, some people were saying that the league was catching up to him, but I guess not,” manager Jerry Narron said. “It’s amazing to see him out there doing what he’s doing.

“He can be as good as anybody in this game. He’s a special talent.”

Right-hander Bronson Arroyo (2-2) got his first career victory over the Rockies with a performance of extremes. He shut out Colorado on two hits for the first five innings, then needed 48 pitches to get a pair of outs before leaving in the sixth.

Todd Helton fouled off four two-strike pitches before hitting a single to left field with the bases loaded in the sixth, cutting it to 5-2. Reliever Kirk Saarloos walked pinch-hitter John Mabry to force in another run.

“I didn’t have anything to start the game with,” Arroyo said. “Those 48 pitches took a lot out of me. Helton’s at-bat really killed me.”

The NL’s worst bullpen held on. David Weathers pitched out of a threat in the eighth to preserve the lead and got four outs in all for his sixth save in seven chances—Cincinnati’s first save since April 15.

Alex Gonzalez and Ryan Freel also homered for Cincinnati. Freel, back in the leadoff spot, also tripled and walked twice, scoring three runs.

Fogg had an uncharacteristically poor showing at Great American Ball Park, where he was 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA in seven previous starts. He gave up seven hits, five walks and five runs in five innings.

Despite the loss, the Rockies left town encouraged by their best road showing of the season. They won their first road series of the year in a ballpark where they rarely do well—Colorado is 4-12 at Great American since it opened in 2003.

“I’m extremely happy to win the series,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We haven’t won here in a long time.”

Notes

Fogg threw 30 pitches in the second inning, 105 in all during his five innings. … Taveras left with tightness in his groin in the fifth, an inning after he was thrown out at third base. … Rockies 3B Garrett Atkins singled in the fifth inning, extending his hitting streak to nine games. SS Troy Tulowitzki also singled for a nine-game hitting streak, the best of his career. … Freel started at second base for the Reds for the first time since July 5. His homer was his first since Sept. 8. … The Reds had two triples in the eighth inning, the first time they’d done that in one inning since June 29, 2000, against St. Louis. … The Reds had blown their last three save opportunities.

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