By HAL McCOY
It happens every spring and sometimes more than once a week.
A veteran pitcher, a guy who is a lock to make his team, faces a guy on the other team wearing a high 90’s number on his uniform without his name on the back.
The established pitcher is working on things, his slider or his changeup or his windup or his delivery. The anonymous guy, with no chance to make the team, is trying to make an impression.
And the guy hits a big home run.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT happened to Cincinnati Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen Wednesday afternoon in Goodyear, Ariz.
He came into a game against the San Diego Padres in the eighth inning with a 5-4 lead.
He gave up a pair of ground ball singes. With one out, a guy wearing Padres uniform No. 98 without his name on his back, stepped into the batter’s box.
His name is Edwin Moreno and he crushed a three-run home run to give the Padres a 7-5 lead.
Game over? Not in this wild and wooly game. Not in Arizona with its high sky and stiff breezes.
THE REDS CAME BACK to score three runs in the bottom of the eighth and won the game, 8-7.
Zach Vincej led the inning with a home run. Then came two walks. Then came a fielder’s choice out at second base but an error on the relay throw and the tying run scored. Then came a triple by Christian Walker for an 8-7 lead.
Game over? Not yet. Lorenzen went back out for the ninth and gave up a couple of infield hits. Two on, one out. He retired the final two. Now the game was over.
Welcom to spring exhibition games.
THE GAME WAS STARTED by Cody Reed, a big lefthander vying for one of the available rotation spots.
His 3 2/3 innings was a mixed bag. He struck out the side in the second. But he had given up a double and a home run to Hunter Renfro in the first inning.
Reed pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up three runs (two earned), four hits, walked one and struck out seven.
One of the unearned runs was the result of an error on a pickoff attempt at first by catcher Devin Mesoraco, making his second start of the spring.
To get Mesoraco as many at bats as possible in his three innings, manager Bryan Price batted Mesoraco leadoff. He went 0 for 2 with a ground out and a fly out.
PERHAPS THE MOST POSITIVE aspect of this one was three hits by Billy Hamilton, who batted second behind Mesoraco. Hamilton has struggled all spring, but on this day he had three hits, two solid singles and a double, scored a run and drove in a run.
Joey Votto, nearly always an early-spring struggler, came into the game with only four hits in 26 at bats. But he was 1 for 2 with a walk and drove home a run.
Shortstop Zack Cozart contributed two hits and his two-run home run in the fourth tied the game, 3-3, when Reed stood to take a loss.
CATCHER STUART TURNER, a Rule V player the Reds picked up at the winter meetings, replaced Mesoraco and went 2 for 2 and scored a run and is hitting .450. The Reds plucked him away from the Minnesota Twins for $50,000 and must keep him all season on the 25-man roster or offer him back to the Twins for $25,000. Turner played college baseball at Ole Miss and won the Johnny Bench Award as the best collegiate catcher.
Right fielder Scott Schebler also contributed two hits to the Reds’ 13-hit attack.
Relief pitcher Blake Wood was impressive after replacing Reeds in the fourth inning, ending the inning with a strikeout. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and issued a walk while striking out three.
Drew Storen gave up a run and a hit (a home run) with a walk and a strikeout in his one inning. Tony Cingrani followed him with a scoreless, hitless inning with a walk and a strikeout.
UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON GRADUATE Craig Stammen was one of only two of the six Padres pitchers to not give up a run.
Stammen, trying to hook on with the Padres after missing nearly a year-and-a-half with injuries, gave up two hits in his inning, but no runs and struck out two. Stammen, from North Star, Oh., and a Versailles High School graduate, was available this winter and worked out for the Reds but they decided not to sign him.
Over the winter, Stammen runs an auction/dinner for the Versailles High School baseball team and raised nearly $50,000 this year.
BEFORE WEDNESDAY’S GAME, the Reds made several roster cuts. They reassigned to the minor leagues C Joe Hudson, IF Brandon Dixon, OF Gabriel Guerrero,
RHP Tyler Mahle, LHP Ismael Guillón, RHP Jimmy Herget, LHP Nick Routt and RHP Kevin Shackelford
And they optioned to Class AAA Louisville IF Dilson Herrera, OF Aristides Aquino, RHP LuisCastillo, RHP Keury Mella, RHP Jackson Stephens, RHP Nick Travieso, RHP Lisalverto Bonilla and RHP Ariel Hernandez.