By HAL McCOY
‘Run, Billy, run. Run, Billy, run. Run, Billy, run Billy, run Billy run.’
If anybody doesn’t believe speed kills, especially on a baseball basepath, they need to watch the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s Cincinnati-Cleveland baseball game.
Not only once, but twice Hamilton used his Olympic speed to save the Reds and lift them to a 4-3 victory over the Indians.
HAMILTON IS SO FAST HE fooled first base umpire Tim Timmons. With the Reds down, 3-2, and runners on second and first with one out, Hamilton grounded to first baseman Carlos Santana. His throw to second got the second out and on the return throw to first base Timmerman called Hamilton out.
Game over? Tribe wins, 3-2? Not so fast, because Hamilton is fast. The Reds challenged the out call at first and after a long, long delay while they looked at tape in New York, the call was reversed. Hamilton was safe. Game still on.
There were runners on first (Hamilton) and third (Scooter Gennett).
With Zack Cozart batting, 0 for 3 on the night with three strikeouts, Hamilton took off for second and Cozart lined a single to shallow left field. Michael Brantley tried for a diving catch and missed. The ball was right in front of him, but he couldn’t find it right away.
Hamilton never stopped. He scored, standing up from first base, on a shallow single to left field, with the go-ahead and winning run.
ALL THAT WAS LEFT WAS for Raisel Iglesias to finish it off. But it wasn’t easy.
It took Iglesias 10 pitches to strike out pinch-hitter Yan Gomes, then he retired Daniel Robertson on a ground ball to the mound.
He walked Jason Kipnis on a full count and Francisco Lindor singled to right, putting the potential tying run on third and the winning run on first.
It ended when Michael Brantley grounded out and Iglesias had his eighth save in eight opportunities.
The game was played in two segments. They played five and then waited for more than two hours for a rainstorm to subside, then played the final four innings.
JUST DOWN THE STREET from Progressive Field, a guitarist named Carlos Santana is enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, owner of 10 Grammy Awards.
But it was a different Carlos Santana that nearly wrecked the Reds before the rain delay. He drove in all three runs before the rains came and the Indians led, 3-2.
He hit a two-run home run in the third inning off Reds starter Lisalverto Bonilla.
The Reds tied it, 2-2, in the fourth on a single by Joey Votto and Adam Duvall’s 10th home run — the fourth Cincinnati hitter to reach 10 or more home runs, the only team in the majors that can say that.
Just before they pulled the tarp on the field, Santana pulled a run-scoring double to right in the bottom of the fifth to give the Tribe a 3-2 lead.
Then came the rains. And the game stayed 3-2 until the ninth and Hamilton’s sprint around the bases.
If it had been raining, not a drop would have fallen on Hamilton’s head.
THE INDIANS WERE 18-and-0 this season when leading after seven innings, but the Reds got to closer Cody Allen in the ninth, an inning started with back-to-back singles by Scooter Gennett and Tucker Barnhart.
And the Tribe bullpen hadn’t blown a save all year but have blown two straight to the Reds. They blew a 7-4 lead in Cincinnati Tuesday night, but came back to win, 8-7.
Reds manager Bryan Price is not a big fan of replay/review, especially some of the lengthy time it takes. On Wednesday night, he became a huge fan. For one day.