Josh Hamilton Powers Reds Past D'backs

Thursday, April 12th 2007, 8:10 am

By: News On 6

Josh Hamilton is enjoying every minute of his new major league career. Opposing pitchers are hoping his enthusiasm will soon wane. The Cincinnati outfielder, who sat out three seasons as he struggled with cocaine addiction, homered for the second straight game, leading the Reds to a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

``It's still hard for me to describe how fun it is to be here,'' said Hamilton, who also doubled to start a rally. ``I mean, I'm just so happy to have an opportunity. I feel so blessed to be here.''

Hamilton's solo home run off Arizona reliever Brandon Medders gave Cincinnati a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning. Hamilton wasn't sure the line drive would clear the fence, so he didn't stop sprinting until he saw the umpire's signal.

``I got around the bases pretty quick,'' Hamilton said. ``That's the way I do. I don't take it for granted.''

It turned out to be the insurance run the Reds needed when the Diamondbacks rallied for a run in the ninth on Chad Tracy's two-out double. Reds closer David Weathers got Conor Jackson to ground out to short for his third save in three chances.

The Reds snapped a three-game losing streak and salvaged the final game of a three-game series between early season division leaders.

``That was big for the club right now,'' said Reds starting pitcher Matt Belisle (2-0), who allowed one run on three hits in six innings, walking one and striking out three.

Diamondbacks starter Micah Owings (1-1) limited the Reds to four hits and allowed only two baserunners to advance as far as second base.

In other NL games Wednesday, it was: St. Louis 3, Pittsburgh 2; Philadelphia 5, New York 2; Milwaukee 3, Florida 2 in 13 innings in the completion of a suspended game; Milwaukee 5, Florida 2; Atlanta 8, Washington 3; San Diego 4, San Francisco 0; and Los Angeles 3, Colorado 0.

The Reds didn't know what to expect from Hamilton when they purchased his contract from the Chicago Cubs last Dec. 7. But he earned a spot on the roster by hitting .403 in spring training, and now he's forcing manager Jerry Narron to find a spot for him in the lineup.

Asked if Hamilton would play when the Reds open a three-game series at Chicago on Friday, Narron said: ``Josh has got a good chance of playing somewhere. We've got to get him on the field. The spring he had and the at-bats he's having right now, he looks like he belongs here.''

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2

Chris Duncan hit a pinch-hit homer off Salomon Torres in the ninth inning and visiting St. Louis completed a three-game sweep.

Duncan broke a 2-2 tie by taking Torres (0-1) deep with one out in the ninth.

Ryan Franklin (1-0) got four outs for the victory, the Cardinals' fourth in a row. The Pirates are 1-5 since sweeping Houston in a three-game series.

Brewers 3, Marlins 2, 13 innings, completion of susp. game

Brewers 5, Marlins 2

In Miami, Rickie Weeks started the go-ahead rally in the completion of the suspended game, then provided most of the offense in the scheduled game.

Weeks scored on Prince Fielder's 13th-inning single and Milwaukee won the completion of the first suspended game caused by Major League Baseball's rules change. He then homered, tripled and scored three runs in the nightcap.

Fielder had three singles, a double and three walks to reach base seven times in the opener.

In the second game, Dave Bush (1-1) allowed one run and 10 hits in six innings, and Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his third save, second of the day. Sergio Mitre (0-2) allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings.

Phillies 5, Mets 2

Adam Eaton pitched seven steady innings and the visiting Phillies walked to their second win of the season.

Philadelphia took advantage of seven early walks by Oliver Perez and avoided starting 1-7 for the first time since 1987. Perez (1-1) walked the bases loaded in the second inning and with two outs in the third, walked four straight and then plunked Rod Barajas with a 2-2 pitch, making it 3-0.

Eaton (1-1) allowed four hits and three walks in his first win with the Phillies. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four career starts against New York.

Braves 8, Nationals 3

Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones homered in the same game for the 56th time and host Atlanta won its fourth straight game.

Washington fell to 1-8, the franchise's worst start since the Montreal Expos had the same record through nine games in 1998. The Nationals have been outscored 61-21 and have yet to score in the first three innings of a game.

Chuck James (2-0) scattered five hits in six innings, walking three and striking out five. Chipper Jones' two-run homer off Jerome Williams (0-2) made it 2-0 in the first. Andruw Jones, who hit his first homer of the year on Tuesday, drove Ryan Wagner's pitch deep into the left-field seats to make it 5-0 the seventh.

Padres 4, Giants 0

Pitching three days before his 41st birthday, Greg Maddux kept Barry Bonds in the yard and visiting San Francisco off the scoreboard.

Maddux (1-1) combined on a six-hitter with Cla Meredith, Scott Linebrink and Doug Brocail. The Padres' bullpen extended its season-opening scoreless streak to 28 1-3 innings.

He retired Bonds three times on a total of four pitches. Bonds flied out to left field twice, then lifted a fly ball to right that Brian Giles caught against the wall. Bonds finished 0-for-4.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 0

Brad Penny continued his mastery of visiting Colorado, allowing two hits over 6 1-3 innings for his sixth straight win against the Rockies.

Penny (2-0) struck out three, walked four and retired 11 consecutive batters before hitting Chris Iannetta with his 108th and final pitch. The burly right-hander went 5-0 with a 2.67 ERA against the Rockies last season.

Nomar Garciaparra hit a tiebreaking two-run single off Jason Hirsh (1-1), who allowed three runs, six hits and two walks over five innings. He struck out three.

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