Lorenzen electrifies Philly with no-hitter in home debut

Righty blanks Nats for Phillies' first no-no at Citizens Bank Park since Halladay in 2010

August 10th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- was having the coolest moment of his baseball career three outs before he accomplished the greatest moment of his baseball career.

Lorenzen emerged from the Phillies’ dugout in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park to a raucous ovation from 30,406 fans, and they cheered his entire walk to the mound. He had not allowed a hit through eight innings. He had thrown 111 pitches -- four more than his previous career high. Lorenzen had an opportunity to make history in just his second start since joining the Phillies in a trade with Detroit on Aug. 1, just prior to the Trade Deadline.

“It gave me the chills,” Lorenzen said.

Then, Lorenzen completed the 14th no-hitter in team history in a 7-0 victory over the Nationals. It was Philadelphia’s first no-hitter since Cole Hamels on July 25, 2015, and its first at home since Roy Halladay on Oct. 6, 2010, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

“As I’m walking out -- I’m telling you -- the fans going crazy, it’s hard not to get a little emotional,” Lorenzen said. “This is what I’ve worked for. This is a dream come true. I’m walking out for the ninth inning. I have no hits. I’m in a city like Philly, and these guys are going crazy. I can’t hear the PitchCom. The PitchCom is all the way up to the highest level. It got a little emotional before that ninth inning started. It gave my body that boost that it needed.

“That was the coolest moment of my baseball career.”

It seemed like Lorenzen might not get to that point. He threw 53 pitches in his first three innings. He finished the seventh with 100. Manager Rob Thomson found Lorenzen in the tunnel leading to the Phillies’ clubhouse after the seventh.

“How are you doing?” Thomson said.

“I’m good,” Lorenzen said.

“Are you strong?”

“I’m good.”

“OK, I’m giving you 20 pitches, and that’s it,” Thomson said. “You better get quick outs.”

“I will,” Lorenzen said.

Lorenzen needed 11 pitches to finish the eighth.

“My heart was starting to pound,” said right fielder Nick Castellanos, who homered twice. “I’m starting to get excited, because it’s becoming a possibility.”

In the ninth, Lorenzen threw a 1-1 slider to Lane Thomas, who grounded out to third baseman Alec Bohm. One out. He threw an 0-2 sinker to Joey Meneses, which home-plate umpire Brennan Miller called a strike. Two outs.

“Everybody’s trying to get a hit,” Nats first baseman Dominic Smith said. “We’re trying to talk about it, we’re trying to jinx him, we’re trying to do everything we can to disrupt his rhythm that he had tonight.”

Lorenzen and catcher J.T. Realmuto had been in sync all night, just like during Lorenzen’s Phillies debut in Miami last Thursday. The right-hander did not shake off Realmuto once in eight innings in Miami. He did not shake him off once on Wednesday.

Lorenzen got Smith to a full count. Realmuto called the next pitch. Lorenzen had trouble hearing the PitchCom receiver a few times in the ninth. A few times, Realmuto relayed the call two or three times in succession.

But Lorenzen got the call for the 3-2 pitch: Backdoor slider.

“Dom saw the changeup pretty well,” Realmuto said. “I knew he probably wasn’t going to chase a changeup down in the zone. I did not want to walk him, because I wasn’t sure if that was going to be [Lorenzen’s] last batter. My thought process was, ‘It’s going to be four-seam down and away and try to freeze him, or slider backdoor.’ I knew the slider had a better chance of being a strike, and Dom hits four-seams better than he does sliders. The slider’s the pitch. We’ve got to trust it.”

Smith skied the ball toward center field. Realmuto pumped his fist. He knew. Lorenzen turned and pointed to the sky. He raised both arms.

Rookie Johan Rojas made the catch in left-center field for the final out.

“I wanted that fly ball,” Rojas said. “I wanted the last out to be mine.”

Lorenzen turned to Realmuto. They hugged. History.

“It was a relief,” Realmuto said. “I wanted that so bad for Michael.”

The Phillies celebrated on the field. Lorenzen’s wife, Cassi, 9-month-old daughter, June, and mother, Cheryl, joined him. Thomson later toasted Lorenzen in the clubhouse.

“Welcome to Philadelphia, buddy,” Thomson said.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski strolled through the clubhouse. A bunch of Phillies clapped and congratulated him on acquiring Lorenzen from Detroit.

“Great trade!”

“Nice pickup!”

Lorenzen, 31, made his big league debut in 2015 with the Reds. He was a starter as a rookie, then a reliever for the next six years. He returned to the rotation in ‘22 with the Angels. He became a first-time All-Star with the Tigers this year, but everything has not always gone as planned.

“This game has punched me in the face so many times,” Lorenzen said. “This is my ninth season, and I have yet to have a year that I’m happy about. I’ve just got to rely on the work that I’ve put in and trusting and hoping that it’s going to pay off at some point. It’s been a good year.”

It’s not finished yet. Lorenzen knows it. He is playing for a team that has championship expectations. He showed Wednesday he can help them get there.

“This whole experience has been so humbling,” Lorenzen said. “The only thing I can do is just step back and thank God for everything. Literally everything that He’s done for me. Even the trials and everything, it’s made me better -- as a man, as a baseball player. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. But to be able to experience this tonight, [I’m] just so grateful, so blessed.”