Carlos Gomez is the type of guy who always seems to find himself at the center of something. On Thursday, he was integrally involved in the the two best plays of the night.
The Brewers' sparkplug-slash-nemesis of those who defend all rules that are unwritten hacked at the first pitch of the game from the Reds' Homer Bailey and seemed destined for his 17th extra base hit of this young season, but Billy Hamilton had other ideas. Hamilton raced into the gap in right-center, dove into the air and snagged Gomez's liner. It wasn't all good news for the Reds - Hamilton reportedly sprained the third and fourth knuckles on his left hand and will miss a few games - but it was another reminder of the many ways his speed can impact the game, and of how quickly a player who was exclusively a middle infielder until last season has taken to centerfield:
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In the bottom of the inning, it was Gomez's turn to flash both his athleticism and his leather. This time Joey Votto swung at the first pitch he saw from Brewers starter Marco Estrada and drove it high and deep to center. Gomez raced back, drifted to his right and then curled back to the left before turning his back to the wall. One perfectly timed leap later and a certain Votto homer had become a harmless flyout:
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Gomez, being Gomez, exulted and pounded his fist into his glove, but Votto, to his credit, appeared to take no offense. Instead he flashed two fingers towards center, not in order to flip the international bird to Gomez but to remind him, as if he needed it, that he'd robbed him before, to end a game last July:
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In any event, Votto and the Reds had the last laugh. They torched erstwhile Milwaukee closer Jim Henderson for five runs in the bottom of the 8th, turning a tense 3-3 into an 8-3 win.