Rookie Davis will never forget Daniel Nava or that his first game resulted in a 7-4 Reds’ victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
Davis made his Major League debut and Nava nearly ruined it. After Davis started his career by striking out Cesar Hernandez, Nava launched a 0-1 pitch into right field seats.
The last person to see Nava on the field before he triumphantly returned to the dugout was Stuart Turner, former gas station attendant at Turner Conoco in Eunice, Louisiana, who also made his debut as a catcher.
It was the only time in Reds’ modern history that a rookie pitcher and catcher made their initial appearance in the same game. It has happened before, the last being for the Washington Nationals in 2008 when Shairon Martis was the starting pitcher and Luke Montz was the catcher.
'A couple pitches beat me in that game. I'll look at the video. Ahead of the hitter 1-2, I have to make a better pitch than that," Davis said. "I would have loved to have eaten up more innings than that as well. Overall the way the team stepped in and the team rallied, it was special to me for my debut."
Davis was a tougher critic than his manager.
"I am happy with his (Davis) approach. He attacked the zone," Price said. "He got hurt in counts that he was ahead. His quality of his pitch when he is ahead in the count will have to improve but this is his first outing. A lot of things went well for Rookie. I think he's going to do just fine."
Eugenio Suarez evened the score with a double off Phillies’ starter Clay Buchholz. Scott Schebler got him to third with a ground out and Cozart delivered the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Nava struck again with a two-run home run off Davis in the third. Odubel Herrera doubled and scored on a pitch in the dirt that got away from Turner. Davis made a rookie mistake by not covering home.
Davis left the game after three innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. Davis narrowly missed a home run in his first Major League at bat with a double off the leftfield wall.
"I saw a good pitch. I broke my bat on it. I didn't get as much good wood on it," Davis said. "It was good to get that first hit out of the way."
Rookie Wandy Peralta, who appeared in 10 games last season, shut down the Phillies in the fourth.
The Reds rallied and Turner contributed.
Adam Duvall singled and advanced to third on Suarez second hit of the game. Schebleer walked to load the bases. Cozart singled to drive in his second run of the game. Turner’s deep fly to right produced his first career RBI and allowed Schebler to advance to third. Schebler scored on Scooter Gennett’s pinch hit ground out.
Cody Reed walked four in two innings but also coaxed a pair of double play grounders to extricate the Reds from the innings, unscored upon. Reed got his first Major League win. After going 0-7 last season. It was a unique way to get the win for a player, who will be a starter down the road.
'A first win is a first win," Reed said, knowing he could have pitched better.
Turner also helped Reed by catching Andrew Knapp off second on a back pick with Freddie Galvis at the plate. Knapp got too far off. Instead of throwing to one base or the other. Turner didn't get excited and ran at the runner to make him commit.
"I felt he was middle, middle, if I'd have thrown to second or third, I think he could have got back," said Truner, playing his first game above Double A. "I tried to stay under control.. I tried not to panic. I broke out the quarterback stepping up in the pocket."
It was a strange path but it showed that heroics aren't the only path to victory.
With a four-man bench and with Michael Lorenzen pitching last night, Bryan Price sent the reliever to the plate to bat for Reed. Lorenzen made a genius out of Price by belting a home run off Adam Morgan in the sixth.
"We talked about it. Jim Riggleman and I. If there was a runner on base (Patrick), Kivlehan would have hit but we had already used Gennett. It made sense to burn Lorenzen with the bases empty. He came through."
Lorenzen played outfield at Cal State Fullerton and pitching was secondary. He would have been drafted as an outfielder too. He was the first Reds' pitcher to hit a pinch hit home run since Micah Owings did it in 2009 against St. Louis.
"Baseball is fun to me. I love it," Lorenzen said. "Use me. You need me in the field. Use me. I take care of myself physically and mentally to play 162 games. However you want to use me, I'm ready. To me its the way everyone should be. I've talked to Bryan about using me as a hitter and using me wherever he wants me. He knows that he can use me however he wants."
Jose Peraza singled and Duvall crushed his first home run of the season.
Drew Storen, the Reds’ free agent, finished off the Phillies for his first save for the Reds.