Lorenzen’s blast helps Reds slay Phillies
CINCINNATI — Michael Lorenzen is serious about becoming Major League Baseball’s first two-way player. On Thursday afternoon, the right-handed reliever further legitimized his ability to one day do just that.
Lorenzen hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit home run in the sixth, and Adam Duvall added a two-run shot in the seventh, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Lorenzen became the first major league pitcher in eight seasons to hit a pinch-hit home run, the first since Micah Owings also did it for Cincinnati in 2009.
In his career, Lorenzen is batting .262 with two homers and eight RBIs. Following the game, he even sounded like a hitter while describing how he launched a 3-1 pitch from Phillies lefty Adam Morgan into the right-center field seats.
“He threw me a couple changeups and didn’t really get them over,” Lorenzen said. “I knew he was going to come back with a fastball, and my timing was on it.”
Cody Reed (1-0) walked four over two scoreless innings and earned his first major league victory. Drew Storen earned his first save.
Reed pitched himself into trouble with consecutive walks in each of his two innings but pitched through the jams.
“It’s about time the pendulum swung his way,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We believe in his stuff. He’s going to have to stay away from bad counts.”
Morgan (0-1) took the loss for Philadelphia after allowing three earned runs on two homers in 2 1/3 innings.
Rookie Davis made his major league debut for Cincinnati, allowing four earned runs in three innings with four strikeouts, but earned a no-decision after the Reds rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie the score.
Davis, who turns 24 this month, struck out the first batter he faced in second baseman Cesar Hernandez. But two pitches later he gave up Daniel Nava’s solo home run, putting the Phillies on top 1-0.
Davis threw 17 pitches in the first inning and 19 in the second. He recorded three of the first six outs via strikeouts.
“He attacked the zone,” Price said. “He got hurt when he was ahead in the count on off-speed stuff. It’s a learning process. A lot of things went well for Rookie today.”
Nava struck again in the third with a two-run home run on a 1-2 pitch to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead. It was the first career multi-home run game for Nava, who coming into Thursday’s game had only 25 homers in 1,518 career at-bats.
“What a performance he had today,” said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. “It’s a shame we couldn’t have won that game.”
Things continued to unravel for Davis in the third. He uncorked a wild pitch and then failed to cover home plate allowing Odubel Herrera to race home to make the score 4-1. Davis needed 38 pitches to get through the third.
“A couple pitches beat me today,” Davis said. “On the 1-2 pitch (Nava’s second homer), I have to make a better pitch than that. The way the team rallied was special for me.”
Fortunately for the Reds, Brandon Finnegan’s seven-inning stint Wednesday night put their bullpen in decent shape for Davis’ first outing.
Davis remained in the game to bat for himself leading off the third and doubled off the left-field wall for his first career hit.
The Reds took Davis off the hook when they tied the score with a three-run fourth.
Three of the four runs scored via two sacrifice flies and an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Scooter Gennett.
Clay Buchholz, who was making his Phillies debut after being acquired in December, allowed four earned runs over six innings.
“I threw a lot of strikes, but they found some holes,” Buchholz said. “Overall I threw the ball pretty good. I missed with a couple of pitches. It could have gone a lot better. It could have gone a lot worse in a couple of situations.”
The score was tied 4-4 in the sixth when Lorenzen launched his pinch-hit solo homer off Morgan, who an inning later gave up Duvall’s two-run homer on a 3-2 pitch to make the score 7-4.
“With nobody on and two outs, it made more sense to burn Lorenzen there,” Price said. “He crushed a 3-1 pitch on a day the ball’s not carrying well.”
NOTES: According to the Reds, it was the first time in franchise history (dating to 1869) that both starting battery mates made their major league debuts in the same game. It occurred in the majors most recently in 2008 when Nationals’ RHP Shairon Martis and C Luke Montz debuted on Sept. 4. ... Phillies C Andrew Knapp also made his major league debut Thursday, marking just the second time since 1900 that both teams’ starting catchers made their debuts in the same game.