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Price has no regrets sticking with Lorenzen

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- In the ninth inning with a three-run lead and lefty powerhouse Anthony Rizzo due up representing the tying run, Reds manager Bryan Price had rookie lefty reliever Wandy Peralta warming up in the bullpen at Great American Ball Park on Friday night. But the game was in righty Michael Lorenzen's hands, all the way.

It did not work out, however, as Rizzo slugged the game-tying three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth inning before the Reds went on to lose in 11 innings, 6-5.

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CINCINNATI -- In the ninth inning with a three-run lead and lefty powerhouse Anthony Rizzo due up representing the tying run, Reds manager Bryan Price had rookie lefty reliever Wandy Peralta warming up in the bullpen at Great American Ball Park on Friday night. But the game was in righty Michael Lorenzen's hands, all the way.

It did not work out, however, as Rizzo slugged the game-tying three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth inning before the Reds went on to lose in 11 innings, 6-5.

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"It's a second-guesser's delight if you like that sort of thing, but I had the best guy that we had available in our bullpen to face the Cubs in the ninth inning with a three-run lead," Price said of Lorenzen. "He just didn't get it done. I won't lose any sleep over the decisions. It's a tough one to lose. But I don't have anything, there's nothing I'm second-guessing as far as decisions go."

Video: CHC@CIN: Lorenzen on Rizzo's home run

Price has broken the mold of regular-season bullpen usage this season and has often been rewarded. Reds relievers entered with the second-best bullpen ERA (2.43) in the National League. On any given night, the Reds turn to either Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, Drew Storen or Tony Cingrani to finish games.

However, Iglesias was not available after throwing 33 pitches in two innings vs. the Orioles on Thursday. Storen had already pitched a scoreless seventh inning on Friday. And earlier in the day, Cingrani went on the disabled list with a strained right oblique.

Lorenzen threw 43 pitches in the game and had to escape his own eighth-inning jam after allowing a walk and a single. In the ninth, Miguel Montero notched a pinch-hit single and went to third base on a Kyle Schwarber double to left field. As Peralta warmed up, Kris Bryant lined out softly to the shortstop.

"[Peralta] was warming up," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I didn't know. Lorenzen has a great arm. That's the other team's call. That's the way they want to play it."

Cincinnati had one lefty available in Peralta, but it didn't mean he was the right guy to face Rizzo. There are few lefties who are sure things, in fact. Since 2014, Rizzo has an .881 on-base-plus slugging percentage vs. lefty pitchers and a .922 OPS against right-handers. All but four of Peralta's 17 big league appearances were in low-leverage situations.

"Wandy would have been in there if they would have taken the lead," Price said. "If his pitch count got way up there, we would have had Wandy as kind of a backdrop. But it was not a situation where I was trying to get to Wandy right there. I had the right guy in there and Rizzo hit a homer. What can you do? I had the right matchup in there, it just didn't work out."

Lorenzen's first pitch to Rizzo, a 96-mph fastball, was tattooed into the right-field seats. The exit velocity off of the bat was 108 mph, according to Statcast™.

"Just challenge him and throw every pitch with conviction, just like every single hitter, just like every single other pitch that I throw," Lorenzen said of his plan. "With that, I threw it with conviction. He got me. Just tip your cap to him. He's a good hitter. It's Anthony Rizzo for a reason."

Lorenzen felt like he had plenty left in his arm.

"I felt good out there," he said. "Stuff like this, it happens. It's how you handle it. What really separates the really good ones is how they handle it."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Michael Lorenzen