Reliever Lorenzen’s pinch-hit homer sends Reds over Phillies
CINCINNATI (AP) — The game was tied and the Reds’ bench was getting depleted. Relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen was excited to get a bat and help out.
Lorenzen connected for the first pinch-hit homer by a big league pitcher in eight years, putting Cincinnati ahead, and the Reds overcame a rough major league debut by Rookie Davis to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 Thursday.
Adam Duvall added a two-run homer as the Reds rallied from an early three-run deficit to take the opening series, winning two of three.
Lorenzen’s solo homer — the second of his career — off Adam Morgan (0-1) put the Reds up 5-4 in the sixth inning. Manager Bryan Price used the reliever because he’s working with a short-handed bench to start the season.
“I want to be an all-around player,” said Lorenzen, who also played outfield in high school. “Use me however you want. He knows when he sends me up to pinch-hit, I’m going to have a smile on my face.”
The last pinch homer by a major league pitcher came in 2009, when the Reds’ Micah Owings connected off the Cardinals’ Ryan Franklin, according to ESPN. Lorenzen connected on a 3-1 fastball, rounded the bases and then left the game without facing a batter.
“He threw a fastball on 2-0, so I was able to get the timing,” Lorenzen said. “When he came back with it, I had the timing on it.”
Cody Reed (1-0) got his first major league win by escaping threats in each of his two innings. Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his first save since the Reds signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal.
The Phillies blew a 4-1 lead set up by Daniel Nava’s pair of homers off Davis.
Nava hit a solo shot on Davis’ seventh pitch in the majors. He added a two-run homer in the third. The last Phillies player to homer in his first two at-bats with the team was Jeremy Giambi in 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It was Nava’s first career two-homer game.
“That’s not my game, but I’ll take them when they come,” Nava said.
Davis lasted three innings, gave up five runs, and had a rookie mistake. After Nava homered in the third, Odubel Herrera doubled, advanced on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch, aided by Davis’ failure to cover the plate.
Clay Buchholz, who came to the Phillies last December for infielder Josh Tobias, couldn’t hold the lead. The Reds tied it with three runs in the fourth, highlighted by Zack Cozart’s single.
The temperature at game time was 43 degrees. Rain fell steadily on the crowd of 10,586.
Davis got his nickname from his father, Billy, who hoped his son — William Theron Davis III — would become a baseball player.
Davis and catcher Stuart Turner made their debuts, the first time since 1900 that the Reds’ starting battery mates made debuts in the same game, according to Elias. Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp made his debut, too. It was only the second time since 1900 that both starting catchers made their debut in the same game. Max St. Pierre started for Detroit and Lucas May for Kansas City in 2010.
Nava’s two homers matched his total from his last two years in the majors. He also homered in his first plate appearance for Boston in 2010, hitting a grand slam on Joe Blanton’s first pitch.
“I hit one home run in high school, over a 3-foot fence,” Nava said. “I wasn’t a big guy at all.”
Reds: Catcher Devin Mesoraco — coming off hip surgery — and right-hander Austin Brice — on the DL with a sore elbow — started rehab assignments at Double-A Pensacola on Thursday.
Phillies: Open their 14th season at Citizens Bank Park. Kane Kalas, son of the late Harry Kalas, will sing the anthem from his father’s statue behind the left field foul pole. Sylvia Green, the widow of former manager Dallas Green, will throw a ceremonial pitch. RH Vince Velasquez starts against the Nationals’ Max Scherzer.
Reds: Start a weekend series in St. Louis, where they’ve won only four of its 39 series since 2003, splitting three of them. Left-hander Amir Garrett makes his major league debut, facing Mike Leake.
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