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09/22/2013 6:22 PM EDT
Hamilton, Reds top Pirates, tie for wild card lead
CINCINNATI 11, PITTSBURGH 3

By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Billy Hamilton remains perfect on the
basepaths. The Cincinnati Reds remain perfect with their speedy
rookie outfielder in the starting lineup.

The combination could prove potent during the final week of the
regular season, and maybe beyond.

Hamilton got three hits and stole two more bases and the Reds
routed Pittsburgh 11-3 Sunday to tie the Pirates for the NL
wild-card lead. Batting right behind Hamilton, Chris Heisey had
three hits and two RBIs as the Reds won two of three to pull
even with the scuffling Pirates.

"Those guys set up some big innings," Cincinnati manager Dusty
Baker said. "You need guys in your lineup to drive in runs but
it's just as important to have guys to get on base so they can
be driven in."

The Reds and Pirates each have magic numbers of two to close out
Washington and clinch a playoff spot. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh
trail NL Central leader St. Louis by 2 1-2 games, pending the
Cardinals' night game at Milwaukee.

Jay Bruce hit a three-run double and Todd Frazier followed with
a homer that capped a five-run burst in the first inning.
Bronson Arroyo (14-11) made it stand up, lasting five innings to
win for the first time in nearly a month. The Reds won for the
fifth time in six games to head home for a season-ending
six-game homestand with some serious momentum.

"We knew it was an important series, they knew it was an
important and our guys responded and jumped them early in this
one," Baker said. "It was a good win for us, an important win."

Neil Walker hit his 13th homer of the season, but Pittsburgh
stumbled in its home finale. The Pirates have lost five of seven
and will have to clinch its first postseason berth in 21 years
on the road. Pittsburgh begins a six-game road trip on Monday in
Chicago against the Cubs.

"Today we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole early and they
never let up, kept their foot on the gas pedal," Walker said.
"We have to continue to play good baseball and things will go
our way."

They're certainly going Hamilton's way at the moment. His
presence has given the Reds a needed late-season jolt. He was at
it again on Sunday, easily taking second base in the second
inning and doing it again in the sixth. Hamilton is 12 for 12 on
swipe tries since his late-season promotion from Triple-A and is
6 for 14 and has scored nine times as a major leaguer.

Bruce had four RBIs and Chris Heisey added three hits while
driving in two runs.

Jeff Locke (10-7) was tagged in the first inning and didn't come
out for the second.

After morphing from fifth starter to improbable All-Star, Locke
fell to 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA in the second half of the season.
Locke's next turn in the rotation is scheduled for Saturday in
Cincinnati, but an off-day on Thursday gives the Pirates some
flexibility with their rotation for a series that could have
serious playoff implications.

After Bruce doubled to the gap in left-center field, Frazier
followed with his 18th homer, a two-run shot to the deepest part
of PNC Park.

"Everything happened pretty fast," Locke said. "A hit a few
walks, a big hit by Bruce, and the homer by Frazier and before
you know it Arroyo was my last hitter. I think you try to avoid
the big inning and unfortunately the big inning was the first
inning."

Cincinnati pushed its advantage to 7-0 in the second on an RBI
double by Heisey and a sacrifice fly from Brandon Phillips off
reliever Jeanmar Gomez.

Staked to such a huge cushion, Arroyo worked quickly if not
exactly effectively. Walker hit his third homer in four games
leading off the third and pinch-hitter Travis Snider did the
same in the fifth.

Pittsburgh's best chance to make it close came later in that
inning when Walker's double put runners in scoring position with
no outs. Arroyo surrendered only a sacrifice fly by Justin
Morneau that made it 7-3. The veteran right-hander gave up three
runs on five hits in five innings, walking two and striking out
three.

NOTES: Pirates C Russell Martin left the game in the fifth with
soreness in his left knee ... Cincinnati pitchers struck out six
to lift their season total to 1,249, a club record ... Baker
said RHP Johnny Cueto will have a 100-pitch limit when he starts
on Monday against the Mets. Cueto missed more than two months
with a strained right lat before returning to pitch five
scoreless innings last week against Houston ... Pittsburgh
manager Clint Hurdle said Jason Grilli is back as the full-time
closer. Grilli picked up his first save since July 21 when he
recorded the final three outs of a 4-2 win over the Reds on
Saturday night. Grilli missed more than six weeks with a
strained right forearm ... A sellout crowd of 38,699 showed up
for the final regular season game at PNC Park. The 23 sellouts
this season are the second-highest total in the team's 126-year
history, as is the total attendance of 2.26 million.

TOP TEN WAGERS
RK Team
1
Wisconsin
2
Michigan
3
Clemson
4
Louisville
5
Oklahoma
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