With more than half the season in the books, the Cincinnati Reds appear to have finally found the to success: play against winning teams. After sweeping the first-place San Franciso Giants, and then being swept by the lowly San Diego Padres, the Reds came home to heal up against the Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. So far, so good, as the Reds rode a Billy Hamilton homer to a 4-2 win on the 4th of July.
Hamilton struck out three times and only made it to the basepaths once, but he made it count with a two-run shot in the third inning to put the Reds up 2-0, and they never looked back. By the time starting pitcher Alfredo Simon left the mound in the eighth inning, all the game’s runs had been scored. Closer Aroldis Chapman, who got a break during the Reds’ losing streak, came on strong to close the game with a scoreless ninth.
In the process, Simon picked up his 11th win of the season, which is five more than his previous career-high, recorded last year. With just nine days before the All-Star break, Simon strengthened his case for being included in Mike Matheny’s bullpen. More importantly for the Reds, they got off the snide in the best possible way, shaving a full game off the Brewers’ division lead. Heading into tomorrow’s game, the Reds stand six games back of the Crew.