WASHINGTON – Never mind that Pedro Florimon spent the first five innings on the Phillies' bench on Saturday. Or that he struck out in both of his at-bats.
Florimon still made the most heads-up play in the 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.
With the Phillies leading by two runs in the ninth inning, closer Hector Neris walked leadoff man Trea Turner on four pitches. Turner, who swiped 46 bases last season and is 12-for-13 in steal attempts this year, predictably took off for second base on Neris' first pitch to Matt Wieters.
Wieters hit a pop up to shallow right field, but Florimon moved to cover the bag anyway as though he was preparing to take a throw from catcher Andrew Knapp. Turner never stopped running and slid into Florimon's waiting glove. Florimon further sold the play by pressing and holding his glove on Turner, who was cleaning off his jersey while second baseman Cesar Hernandez caught Wieters' pop up. Hernandez easily doubled off Turner at first base.
Credit Neris with the save – and Florimon with the fake.
"I just tried to hold him like that," Florimon said. "I don't know if he expected that I didn't have the ball. I don't know what's going on in his mind. I just did it."
Florimon said he has tried the play before. It usually doesn't work.
"Now it's working," Florimon said, "So that's good for us."
Said manager Gabe Kapler: "That was just incredibly heads-up, and I think it made everybody in the ballpark feel like the ball was on the ground somewhere or in his glove. Really, really smart play by Flo."
How's this for a marquee matchup? Phillies righthander Jake Arrieta (3-1, 3.49 ERA) and Nats ace Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.79) – the last two National League Cy Young Award winners – will face off in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.
"As a baseball fan, I get excited every day I come to the ballpark," Kapler said. "But no doubt, Scherzer vs. Arrieta, day game, last game of the series to settle it, huge moment, and we're all pretty stoked for it."
Since Scherzer signed with the Nationals, the Phillies are 1-11 when he starts against them. Scherzer is 8-0 with a 2.35 ERA in those starts.