Hamilton and the Cincinnati Reds go for a fourth consecutive win over the slumping St. Louis Cardinals as these NL Central rivals meet again Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park.
After entering as a pinch runner in the seventh inning, Hamilton stole his
first base and then came around to score on Todd Frazier's double in Tuesday's 1-0 victory. The 22-year-old outfielder, who set a professional baseball single-season record by stealing 155 bases between Class A and Double-A in 2012, was called up the previous day.
"He (manager Dusty Baker) said, 'I need you to get to second base,'" Hamilton
said after his thrilling big league debut. "I was like, 'OK, I got you.'
"That's my job - stealing in important situations. This was a real big
situation - a pennant race."
Hamilton's speed could make a big impact down the stretch. He was hitting
.256 with six homers and 75 stolen bases in 123 games with Triple-A Louisville
before getting called up.
"Watching Billy run - I can watch that every day," Frazier said.
The Reds (78-61) had dropped 10 of 14 to the Cardinals before taking the last
three meetings by an 18-2 margin. Cincinnati is now 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis
(79-59) for the NL's top wild-card spot and second place in the division.
The Cardinals have hit .176 and been outscored 32-10 in losing five of six.
Matt Carpenter singled twice Tuesday, providing both the team's hits.
Infielder Daniel Descalso is mired in a 3-for-32 slump, Jon Jay is 4 for his
last 26 and Allen Craig is hitless in his last 10 at-bats.
"We've got an offense that's played a lot of games this year and done
extremely well," manager Mike Matheny said. "You can't start trying to reinvent
Matheny's club, though, could bounce back against Bronson Arroyo (13-10, 3.66 ERA).
The right-hander is 8-16 with a 4.65 ERA in 35 starts versus St. Louis, by far his most
losses against any opponent.
Arroyo, 1-8 in his last 13 matchups against the Cardinals, is looking to avoid a fifth
consecutive loss in the series after surrendering a season high-tying seven runs in
3 2-3 innings in a 13-3 defeat Aug. 2.
"As good as they can be and as much as they grind at-bats, it's very difficult to kind
of keep those guys down," he told MLB's official website. "They got a good ball club,
and they just beat me around the ballpark."
Matt Holliday is 14 for his last 40 with four homers and four doubles versus
Arroyo, and Jay is 14 for 34 with four extra-base hits.
Arroyo was also knocked around Friday, giving up six runs in a season-low 3
1-3 innings in a 9-6 loss at Colorado.
"That's just the way it rolls sometimes," said Arroyo, who saw his season-high
four-start winning streak snapped.
Arroyo could benefit from getting back home, where he is 9-3 with a 3.20 ERA
in 16 outings, 14 of which were quality starts.
The Cardinals counter with Shelby Miller (12-9, 3.13), who is 4-5 with a 4.68
ERA in his last 12 outings. The 22-year-old right-hander labored through 4 1-3
innings in Friday's 5-0 loss at Pittsburgh, surrendering five runs, eight hits
and three walks.
While Miller dropped to 2-5 with a 5.80 ERA in his last nine road starts, one
of those victories came in Cincinnati. He allowed three runs and struck out
eight in five-plus innings opposite Arroyo last month, improving to 1-0 with a
2.45 ERA in two career matchups against the Reds.
By: NOEY KUPCHAN