CINCINNATI (AP) — Billy Hamilton ran the Minnesota Twins into a hole so big they couldn’t get out of it.
The speedy leadoff hitter scored three times in the first three innings to help Cincinnati open a huge lead, and the Reds held on for an 11-7 victory over the Twins on Monday night.
It all started with Hamilton, who got on base four times overall and didn’t hesitate to take off. He wound up with four steals.
“That’s fun,” he said. “Getting those four stolen bases gives me a lot of confidence.”
The Reds sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs and a 9-1 lead in the third inning, when Mike Pelfrey (5-5) failed to retire any of the four batters he faced. Pelfrey gave up eight runs — matching his season high — and nine hits, retiring only six of 17 batters.
Cincinnati’s Mike Leake let most of the lead slip away. Ten Twins batted during a six-run rally in the top of the fourth inning. Brian Dozier’s three-run homer off Leake cut it to 9-7.
Leake sat around during the Reds’ big inning — he contributed a sacrifice bunt — and had trouble with his control when he got back on the mound.
“Well, I got a little bored, but that’s no excuse,” Leake said, referring to the Reds’ 10-batter rally. “I just elevated some balls that they took advantage of it. They put a good inning together.”
Nate Adcock (1-1) got the victory with two scoreless innings following Leake’s exit. Cincinnati’s bullpen did not allow a hit in five innings of relief.
“We didn’t let this one get away,” manager Bryan Price said. “I think for a while there, you had the sinking feeling that we were going to let this one get away.”
The Twins haven’t overcome an eight-run deficit to win a game since 1929, when they were the Washington Senators, according to STATS. They couldn’t pull it off on Monday as the Reds matched their season high with 17 hits.
Every Cincinnati position player had at least one hit, and seven different players scored. The Reds had at least one hit in each inning.
Hamilton reached in each of his first four plate appearances on a pair of infield singles and two walks. His four steals gave him 40 for the season, most in the majors.
Tucker Barnhart had a career-high four hits and drove in a pair of runs. Eugenio Suarez, who is filling in at shortstop with Zack Cozart out for the season, had three hits and drove in three runs.