The dreaded Cardinals chased Phillies ace Jake Arrieta after just three innings in Friday night’s gloomy, rain-delayed tilt in St. Louis. The score was then 4-0; by the time reliever Drew Hutchison finished the sixth inning it was 9-2; the game finally became a laugher when Yacksel Rios allowed another three runs in the seventh.
Manager Gabe Kapler, a cosmic-brain thinker under the best of circumstances, decided to give the entire rest of his bullpen the night off, and turned to wily shortstop Pedro Florimon to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning, for what would surely be the last three outs needed by a Phillies pitcher. Florimon, who pitched an inning earlier this season, in Atlanta, in the infamous Kapler-Holby Milner screwup game, was up to the job: Florimon, following in the heroic footsteps of Pablo Sandoval, needed just 14 pitches to retire the side in order and bring this miserable affair three outs closer to its merciful ending.
But Florimon wasn’t done! With two down the top of the ninth inning, Florimon stepped to the plate, officially as a reliever, and took a mighty hack at a slider from Cardinals reliever Mike Mayers:
Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, Florimon’s towering dinger was the first by a Phillies reliever in 48 years, since Rick Wise smoked one in 1970. This was Florimon’s second homer in two nights, and he’s now batting a perfectly respectable .286 on the season, with a healthy .870 OPS. Your move, Shohei Ohtani.