On a night that featured a meltdown by manager Bryan Price and significant glare from the holes in their lineup, the Cincinnati Reds could at least take solace from the continued excellence of the player who just might be the future of the franchise. As the Reds fell 5-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers and slid further down the standings on Monday night, rookie center fielder Billy Hamilton provided the team’s only sparks on offense and and defense, going 2-for-4 and blazing all over the outfield — including into the wall.
In the same inning that Price got bounced from the game for arguing balls and strikes, Hamilton smashed his sixth home run of the season, which is a fairly surprising number for a guy with the reputation for having gnat’s power. Hamilton added a bunt single in the eighth to raise his average to .281 on the season which, coupled with his speed and .424 slugging percentage make him the odds-on favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Hamilton’s leaping catch against the outfield wall in the bottom of the eighth would be the end of their highlights. Errors by fill-ins Donald Lutz at first base and Ramon Santiago at second base both led to Brewers runs, creating a hole the anemic Reds’ offense could not overcome.
Mat Latos, still battling back issues, returned to allow all five runs over seven innings, although he did manage to avoid walking a batter.
The loss leaves the Reds in fourth place in the National League Central division, three-and-a-half games behind the Brewers. The Reds are sixth in the Wild Card race, three games off the pace of the Atlanta Braves who currently hold the last WC slot.