With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Travis Snider sent a ball to center that looked like a certain hit. With a runner on first base, if the ball had dropped in, the Pirates would win. But with Hamilton's speed and fearlessness, it wasn't meant to be. He leaped at the fence, hit it hard and held onto the ball. He almost started a double play, too, but the runner got back to first before Brandon Phillips could relay to Joey Votto.
The Reds appeared to have all of the momentum after Hamilton's catch, along with a score-tying home run by Devin Mesoraco a half-inning earlier. But momentum is a slippery commodity. The Pirates won 4-3 in 12 innings on a walk-off walk. Sigh. Shrimp. But hey, how about that Billy Hamilton?
It needs to be noted that Hamilton was an infielder in the minors before the Reds converted him to center in 2013. He hasn't been playing out there long at all, which makes his catch even more impressive. And even better than Hamilton's defense, at least lately, has been his hitting. Overall, he's batting a better-than-projected .277/.313/.400 (with the 29 stolen bases that were more or less expected). In June, he's batting .344/.377/.563, including three homers and five doubles. Small sample size, arbitrary endpoint and all of that, but it appears that Hamilton's overall game is growing.
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