Michael Lorenzen wasn’t the highest-profile acquisition at Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. So far, though, he’s been the greatest.
In his second career start for the Philadelphia Phillies and first, in front of the home fans, Lorenzen summoned an unprecedented effort and threw the 14th no-hitter in franchise history as they blanked the Washington Nationals, 7-0, Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Lorenzen, 31, won his second start in as many outings for Philadelphia since coming over from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for minor league infield Hao-Yu Lee. Though he walked four — including Nationals slugger Joey Meneses twice — Lorenzen danced around the trouble and struck out five.
It was the first time the Nationals got a no-hit since moving to Washington in 2005; the franchise suffered four no-hitters as the Montreal Expos, most recently David Cone’s perfect game for the New York Yankees in 1999.
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Lorenzen had thrown 111 pitches — 10 over his season high — entering the ninth inning, but manager Rob Thomson stuck with him and was rewarded. Lorenzen induced a Lane Thomas groundout to third base, struck out Meneses looking, and got Dominic Smith on a fly ball to center to finish the first Phillies no-hitter since Cole Hamels blanked the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2015.
It was the first no-hitter by a player in his home debut in 63 years.
“It was incredible walking out for the seventh, for the eighth, for the ninth,” Lorenzen said, per MLB.com. “It gave me a boost of energy. Man, I’ve never been a part of an organization where the fans are a part of the team. They play a role on this field for us, and they gave me that boost that I needed [in the] seventh, eighth and ninth.”
Indeed, his 124 pitches were a career high, and Thomson said he pondered taking Lorenzen out had he walked Smith.
“I may have had to wear a bulletproof vest,” Thomson said in a postgame interview on if he yanked Lorenzen.
Lorenzen nicely boosted his resume to take into free agency this winter. It was the fourth no-hitter in the major leagues this season, joining Domingo German’s perfect game with the New York Yankees, a combined no-no by the Detroit Tigers and Framber Valdez’s effort last week for the Houston Astros.
In two starts with Philadelphia, Lorenzen has a 1.06 ERA and the Phillies have seized the top wild-card spot in the National League.
On a night 28-year-old career minor leaguer Weston Walker homered in his first career major league at-bat and MVP candidate Nick Castellanos slammed two more home runs, Castellanos provided the ultimate highlight. Pitching in front of family, he pointed to the sky and then raised both hands high in the air as center fielder Johan Rojas settled under Smith’s fly ball. Lorenzen then turned and leapt into catcher J.T. Realmuto’s arms as if they’d been batterymates for years — and not mere days.
It was the first no-hitter at Citizens Bank Park since the late Roy Halladay no-hit the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NL Division Series.