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Lorenzen achieves feat last done by Babe in '21

Reds relief pitcher earns the win, hits a home run, plays in field
@alysonfooter
September 5, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Michael Lorenzen is mostly utilized as a pitcher, but on Wednesday, he sent a friendly reminder that he's a two-way, and sometimes three-way, player. All three abilities were on display during the Reds' 8-5 win over the Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Lorenzen pitched. He hit. And,

CINCINNATI -- Michael Lorenzen is mostly utilized as a pitcher, but on Wednesday, he sent a friendly reminder that he's a two-way, and sometimes three-way, player.

All three abilities were on display during the Reds' 8-5 win over the Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Lorenzen pitched. He hit. And, he played the outfield.

He also made history.

Box score

"Michael and the Babe," manager David Bell said, succinctly.

It was a Ruthian night for Lorenzen, in the most literal sense. He became the first player to earn the win, hit a home run and play in the field in the same game since Babe Ruth in 1921.

Arms That Hammer Sweepstakes

The two are now forever linked with this statistical oddity, though the Bambino hit two home runs during his big game on June 13, 1921, against the Tigers. Still, Lorenzen has left his stamp as the only player in the past 98-ish years to land on this particular page of the history books. He pitched the seventh and eighth. He hit a home run in the eighth. And he finished off the night in center field watching Raisel Iglesias nail down his 29th save, from 350 feet away.

Lorenzen found the realization that he's forever linked to Ruth mildly amusing when asked about it after the game. But it's clear he won't be distributing "Lorenzen and Ruth, Ain’t it the Truth" T-shirts anytime in the near or distant future.

"To me it's just a funny little stat, like a baseball stat," he said. "I'm not too into the statistics like that, but I know for a lot of people it means a lot. It's cool for a lot of other people.

"I'm definitely honored to be a part of that. I wouldn't be able to be a part of that if it wasn't for David Bell being open-minded."

Lorenzen pitches more than he hits, but if he had his way, the divide would be more evenly split. Lorenzen has proven over time he can handle the bat. Though his homer Wednesday was his first this season, it was the seventh of his career.

His performance surely gave Bell something to chew on moving forward.

"To give him the opportunity there was fun," Bell said. "He has the confidence that he can step in and do it. But the big thing is he keeps working at [hitting], even when he wasn't getting opportunities throughout the middle of the year. We were leaning on him as a pitcher, and he wasn't getting the other opportunities. He kept working on it and he stayed with it. He just kept himself prepared."

Lorenzen experienced a range of highs and lows during his brief time on the field Wednesday. He first yielded a monster solo shot to pinch-hitter Jay Bruce in the seventh that traveled 426 feet to straightaway center, tying the game at 5.

But in the next inning, he launched a 387-foot, two-run homer off Blake Parker, turning an uncomfortable one-run lead into a three-run advantage.

“It always seems like when I don’t pitch as well and I hit, I seem to hit better,” Lorenzen said. “I wish I could change that. Thankfully I didn't have to pitch after I hit the home run.”

Lorenzen’s homer wasn’t the only one that impacted the win. Several players who did not start the game ended up factoring into the final score, including José Iglesias, whose tiebreaking pinch-hit homer off Jose Alvarez in the seventh inning put the Reds ahead, 6-5.

“He was getting the night off from starting, just given our schedule recently and the position he plays,” Bell said. “But he was ready, and that was the one opportunity right there we were looking to use him in -- off a left-hander. He went out and did it. Michael's home run was really important to add on, but Iggy's, that was big. He loves being up in those spots.”

“It's amazing, especially in a situation like that,” Iglesias said. “Tie game and it just feels right. Helping the team and putting the team in a good position to win is what it's all about.”

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.