Kerkering entered the game in the eighth inning and faced three batters, recording two strikeouts in the process.
After the 22-year-old struck out pinch hitter Rafael Ortega to end the inning, the broadcast camera scanned to Kerkering’s father, Todd, in the crowd. He stood up with the rest of the Phillies fans and cried.
“It was an awesome moment. It was a real moment,” Kerkering said after the game, via MLB. “I heard everybody was crying [on TV]. Just great for TV, so can’t complain.”
When your son, Orion Kerkering, makes his MLB debut and gets two strikeouts ... there IS crying in baseball. pic.twitter.com/7DFhixpcmb— MLB (@MLB) September 25, 2023
The Phillies ended up winning, 5–2.
Kerkering made his way through the minor leagues relatively quickly after being drafted in 2022. In 2023, he moved from Low A Clearwater to High A Jersey Shore to Double A Reading to Triple A Lehigh Valley in a span of six months. Then, on Friday, the Phillies called him up to the major leagues.