Houston, TX, United States (4E Sports) – Cincinatti Reds rookie Billy Hamilton had four stolen bases in his first start in the Majors leading to a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Batting ninth and playing center field, Hamilton also reached base five times with three hits, and two runs scored, including the go-ahead tally in the 13th inning.
Hamilton is the first Major League player since the live ball era (since 1920) to record four steals in his first start. The last Reds player with four steals in one game was Felipe Lopez against the Nationals on May 10, 2006. Ryan Freel’s five steals against the Dodgers on July 27, 2005, is the club record.
“My job is to steal bases, no matter how many I get,” Hamilton said. “That’s an accomplishment to get four in one game. Who knows what comes next?”
Hamilton connected with a double to left field in his first at-bat in the second inning before scoring on Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI single.
Hamilton’s second hit, a single to left field, came with two outs in the fourth inning before he stole second base. In the sixth, he gave the Reds a 4-2 lead when his hit caromed off third base for an RBI single that scored Todd Frazier. Hamilton, of course, stole second base. He walked on four pitches in the ninth and stole second again.
Hamilton walked against Jorge De Leon in the top of the 13th.
That time, the Astros called for a pitchout when Hamilton broke for second base. Catcher Matt Pagnozzi’s throw was still not in time.
Hamilton scored on Jay Bruce’s two-run double to cap a very successful evening.
“He has a chance to be a great basestealer,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He’s one of those guys like a Rickey Henderson. You know they’re running and there’s not much you can do. You hope you hold the ball long enough so he doesn’t get his best jump.”
In eight major league games, Hamilton is 9-for-9 in steals and is already second on the team in stolen bases behind Choo’s 18.