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Lorenzen provides Reds with long-awaited gem

Rookie exhibits longest, best performance to set stage for slump-busting heroics

CINCINNATI -- For the past nine games, during what seemed like an epically long losing streak, the Reds have been longing for more starts like rookie Michael Lorenzen had vs. the Rockies on Tuesday.

While Lorenzen didn't figure in the decision, a 2-1 walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth, his contributions could not be overlooked as he delivered his best start of his brief career.

"That was Michael Lorenzen as good as I've seen him," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Video: COL@CIN: Lorenzen trains with extreme workouts

Lorenzen, who made his first start since May 10 after a brief stint in the bullpen, delivered with seven innings, allowing one run and two hits. He walked three and struck out three.

In four big league starts for the Reds, Lorenzen has a 2.35 ERA, and he has a 3.12 mark overall in six games. The seven innings marked his longest outing in the Majors.

"It's just a mentality, I made a promise to Cincinnati that I would do everything in my power to prepare as much as I can and come out and perform at my highest ability," Lorenzen said. "I threw the ball with confidence, and every pitch I threw tonight was with a purpose."

Lorenzen walked a batter in each of the first two innings, but he escaped with double plays.

At one point, he retired 15 of 16, but the one blemish was costly as Nick Hundley hit a game-tying homer in the fifth inning. It was a badly needed outing from a rotation that was 0-7 with an 8.27 ERA during the nine-game losing streak.

"We needed a great start out of Lorenzen, and he gave it to us," said Skip Schumaker, who provided the game-winning hit in the ninth. "That kid's been special since the day he came here."

Video: COL@CIN: Reds walk off on Schumaker's double

Price liked how Lorenzen challenged hitters throughout the night -- including heavyweights like Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado, who went a combined 1-for-8 with a walk against the 23-year-old right-hander.

"That's sometimes the hardest lesson for young guys to learn: they can challenge hitters in the strike zone," Price said. "You go up there and see Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez and Arenado, and guys that are really good hitters, and you can kind of talk yourself into throwing everything over the black. He didn't do that. He went after them, and it paid a lot of dividends for us."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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