Reds' Hamilton makes leadoff spot his own

Christiani earns win for Cincinnati; Tampa Bay's Odorizzi seals victory

Speedster Billy Hamilton stole 75 bases for Triple-A Louisville last season as well as nabbing 13 big league bags. (Paul Sancya/AP)

By Staff | March 21, 2014 12:46 AM ET

Billy Hamilton is still relatively new to Major League competition, but the results of his first-inning at-bat on Thursday already looked awfully familiar.

Hamilton has served as the Cincinnati leadoff hitter in each of his 14 Cactus League games this year, and he's reached base eight times in the opening frame. His latest feat of early table-setting involved beating out an infield grounder in the Reds' 5-4, 10-inning win over the Texas Rangers.'s No. 37 overall prospect came around to score after that first-inning single, and he ended up 2-for-4 on the day, putting together his third multi-hit game of the spring. His Cactus League average now stands at .325.

Nick Christiani picked up the win by tossing two shutout innings. He allowed one hit and threw all nine of his pitches for strikes. The right-hander hasn't allowed a run since his first spring appearance, and he's notched six strikeouts in as many innings.

Wheelers turning: Over in the Grapefruit League, Yankees farmhand Zelous Wheeler doubled of Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz to hit safely in his fourth straight game. The third base prospect scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki in New York's 3-2 win. In just his fourth spring training game of the year, prospect Ali Castillo flashed the leather at second base to steal a hit from Boston's Carlos Rivera.

Saving Jake: While vying for the final spot in the Tampa Bay rotation, Jake Odorizzi pitched a four-inning save to beat Minnesota. Though he gave up four runs -- three of them earned -- on six hits and a walk, the Rays came away with the 5-4 win.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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