There was champagne in his locker and the closest thing to a red-carpet treatment that the equipment manager could find. Joey Hamilton finally got a hit.
San Diego's right-handed pitcher had been futilely chasing his first big-league hit for two seasons and 57 at-bats, believed to be the worst slump at the beginning of a player's career. He surprised everyone when he lofted a leadoff double over the head of center fielder Brett Butler during the Padres' 8-4 win over the New York Mets on Friday night. "Now I can go ahead and show you the real hitter I am," Hamilton joked after boosing his career average to .017.