Gerrit Cole patiently awaited reporters crowding around his locker to leave. For one night, he was not the one they wanted to talk to, it was Pedro Florimon.
Yes, the same Pedro Florimon who two innings earlier was subject to a massive amount of groans after fouling out on a bunt attempt.
In front of nearly 25,000 woo birds, however Florimon recorded a triple off the Clemente Wall, on its namesake’s 81st birthday nonetheless, to send the Pittsburgh Pirates fans home happy.
“I can relate to those guys better than [Andrew] McCutchen,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I don’t have any hardware, I was that player late in my career that you show up and when they ask you to go, go. You get ready every day and you work. We’re all so happy for him because of the way he works and the way he handles his business.”
Florimon’s role is a tough one. He is a bench player and it is hard to gauge when he will be put into a game. It has mostly been as a late inning replacement. That was no different in this game and he made a quick impact with a move to his left and a fadeaway throw, similar to that of Derek Jeter to record an out in the 10th inning.
“I always have to be ready for every opportunity he gives me,” said Florimon. “He gave me the opportunity and I did my job.”
In the 13th inning, Francisco Cervelli singled, giving Florimon the opportunity to bunt him into scoring position to set up the top of the lineup. Gregory Polanco, who was due up next, has had a penchant for the late inning hit. Florimon, however, was unable to get the bunt down and instead fouled it to Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
“I was a little pissed at myself because I bunted it out,” Florimon said.
Florimon had a mulligan of sorts in the 15th inning with Cervelli on first, this time with two outs. He would come through on this occasion, barely touching third base before he was mobbed by his teammates.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) August 19, 2015
The journey this season has had ups and downs, however Florimon did whatever he could to earn the chance to be on a major league team once again and finally got the opportunity this season. He turned heads in Spring Training and was in contention for a roster spot, however just missed the cut.
Florimon’s hit was his second with the Pirates, however it may have been the biggest of his entire career.
It was a big moment for Florimon, in fact it was his first walkoff of any kind. Not just in the majors, but in minor leagues as well.
“I was so excited for that,” said Florimon. “To see everyone jump up at me and jumping in my face. I had to be happy for that.”
After most of the reporters were out of earshot, Cole went up to Florimon and asked if this was his first walkoff. Florimon was all smiles and confirmed.
With that, Florimon calmly put his bag over his shoulder and called it a night.
Photo credit: Keith Srakocic/AP Photo