Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton reaches stolen base milestone

TUESDAY’S GAME

Braves at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

Billy Hamilton did have time to shower Sunday after the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0. He didn’t take time to do much else after scoring the winning run on a passed ball in the ninth inning. He had to drive friends from Great American Ball Park to the airport in northern Kentucky.

That’s why Hamilton left Great American Ball Park without talking to the media, he explained Monday, even though he was the hero for fans sitting through the heat on a steamy afternoon and for teammates who wanted to win but also to get home to their families.

A scoreless game that looked as if it might drag on for another nine innings ended with Hamilton’s dash home. Then he got a bath in the form of a cold bucket of water dumped on him by Ivan De Jesus Jr.

“It felt really good,” Hamilton said. “I was saying, ‘Bring it on.’ ”

The water dump is a relatively new tradition. Any player who records a winning hit or scores a winning run gets drenched during the postgame interview on Fox Sports Ohio.

“Not only did the water feel good,” Hamilton said, “but it was good to get a win and not go into extra innings. No one wants to play extra innings. In the ninth inning, when it’s a tie ballgame, we always say, ‘Leave them out here,’ because we don’t want to go back out there.”

Hamilton stole his 150th career base before scoring the winning run. He reached that milestone in 356 games. He’s the fastest to the mark since Kenny Lofton reached it in his 334th game in 1994.

While Hamilton ranks 10th out of 12 National League center fielders who have at least 250 at-bats with a .238 batting average, he showed what kind of impact he can have on games with his speed.

“We’re taught as base runners however much (the third baseman) gives you, that’s how much you get off him,” Hamilton said. “He was playing way back. I had a chance to get a bigger lead than I normally get. When Jay (Bruce) comes up, you see the whole infield shift. The third baseman was playing close to shortstop. I was able to get a bigger lead. You’ve got to know who’s pitching. The left-hander throws a lot of sliders. You have to be aware of balls in the dirt. I was waiting for it.”

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