CINCINNATI – Billy Hamilton is still looking for his first major league plate appearance. Cincinnati’s prized prospect has yet to play in the field, and he’s already paying huge dividends for the streaking Reds.
Hamilton stole second in the 10th inning to set up Todd Frazier’s game-winning single, helping Cincinnati beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Saturday.
My job was to score at all costs, Hamilton said. Everybody knows that’s what I’m here for.
Ryan Ludwick opened the Cincinnati 10th with a leadoff walk against Brian Wilson (1-1). Reds manager Dusty Baker then went to the dynamic Hamilton, and the speedster took second as catcher A.J. Ellis dropped the ball while taking it out of his glove.
Hamilton is a battle, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. We had a shot there, though. If A.J. gets the ball out of his glove it would have been close.
Hamilton, 22, who set a professional record with 155 steals in the minors last season, is 4 for 4 on steal attempts since he was promoted Monday. According to research by the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player in major league history to record a stolen base in each of his first four appearances.
There aren’t many like him, Baker said, mentioning past base-stealing threats such as Lou Brock and Willie McGee. Those are guys you know are going to steal, and they steal anyway.
Frazier followed with a line-drive single into right field to give Cincinnati five wins in its last six games. Frazier also drove in Hamilton with a seventh-inning double in the Reds’ 1-0 victory against St. Louis on Tuesday.
J.J. Hoover (4-5) got three outs for the win as Cincinnati captured the first two games of its weekend series against the NL West leaders. The Reds will send Homer Bailey to the mound when they go for the sweep tonight against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
We’re looking for the sweep, Frazier said. You try to win every series, but right now, every win is huge.
Yasiel Puig hit a two-run homer for Los Angeles, which has lost three straight. Adrian Gonzalez went 4 for 5, and A.J. Ellis also had two hits.
Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke struck out nine in six innings and was in line for his 15th win before Cincinnati rallied in the seventh. Shin-Soo Choo singled with one out, and Cesar Izturis followed with a run-scoring double against Paco Rodriguez, tying it at 3.
I was battling, Greinke said. I was making a bunch of good pitches, but they were battling too. They put a bunch of good at-bats together and strung some hits together.
Izturis, starting at second base in place of the injured Brandon Phillips, tied his season high with three hits.