The Phillies, under Rob Thomson, have a knack for playing games with multiple memorable moments topping one another.

It started during his first weekend as a manager, first with Bryce Harper hitting a game-tying grand slam against the Angels and then Bryson Stott hitting a walk off homer to win it.

There was last year, when Weston Wilson hit a home run in his major league debut only to have that overshadowed by Michael Lorenzen throwing a no-hitter.

Then, there was Tuesday night.

In a game that many never thought would even be played with the weather forecast looking ominous, the Phillies decided that not one cool story, nor two would suffice. They needed three.

So, there they were – Spencer Turnbull, making his Phillies debut, Ricardo Pinto making his first appearance in the majors in five years, and Harper, desperately looking to break out of his 0-for-11 start to the season.

They  all decided to have their moments together during a 9-4 Phillies win over the Reds, with each story dwarfing the other.

You have to start with Harper though, as his feat was the most rare, and the most impressive.

Harper’s first hit of the season was a home run:

And so was his second:

And so was his third:

It was the second time Harper hit three home runs in a game. And he remembered almost all of the details of the first when he was asked, off the top of his head.

“All off of (Miami Marlins pitcher) Tom Koehler,” Harper said. “I think it was May 7th. Yeah, May 7th. I went left field, right field, right field. I went into the bullpen over Ichiro’s head.”

It was actually May 6th, 2015, but all the other details were accurate.

That’s a special player. He embraces and knows the history of the game like few others. He is laser focused on everything and everyone. Hell, he knew his stats against Brent Suter, whom he hit the grand slam off of – not that there was a long track record of dominance one way or another – it was only Harper’s fifth plate appearance ever against Suter – but he knew he didn’t have the lefty reliever in his book until that slam.

“Suter, he has my number, usually,” Harper said. “So, having a good at bat right there and getting one to swing out, that’s a pretty good swing right there. … Once I got to 3-2 (the count), I just tried to put a good swing on the ball. I wasn’t thinking homer against him because he has had my number. I’m just trying to get a hit right there. Obviously, it’s really cool to go deep right there but it’s really just a stepping stone of good at bat, good at bat, good at bat. Even if I punch out there at 3-2 it’s still a pretty good at bat. I saw some good pitches and didn’t chase much. Obviously, I put it into the seats, but I just want to continue to have good at bats.”

Even both managers were impressed. Former Phillie David Bell, now the bench boss of the Reds, had to tip his cap to what Harper did in the game.

“He had a great night that’s for sure,” said Bell. “That’s the story. It’s never about just one player, but he had a great game. He absolutely beat us tonight.”

And Thomson, who is effusive in his praise of all his players when they perform well, probably said it most plainly and most accurately.

“That’s what the great players do,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson. “They have big nights like that and we needed that grand slam just sort of like an exhale [for the team]. It was huge.”

Harper is a great player. He will be on the Phillies Mount Rushmore when his career finally ends. The question is, will he supplant Mike Schmidt as the greatest Phillie ever? A championship or two could be the difference in that discussion a decade from now. In the meantime, we should appreciate that it’s that level of greatness we are experiencing with Harper right now.

“If you hit two you want three and if you hit three, you want four – that’s just the mindset,” Harper said. “I’m not satisfied with one, or two, or three. You know how I am. … I expect myself to do that every night. It’s just what I expect out of myself and I know my teammates do as well and this fanbase and everybody else.”

Ricardo Pinto’s Tuesday adventure 

Ricardo Pinto was once the Phillies top pitching prospect, and was winner of the Phillies Paul Owens award as the best pitcher in the farm system in 2015. He was 21 then and had what promised to be a fruitful career in front of him.

He debuted in 2017, but couldn’t stick in the majors quite simply because he was being shelled. The next spring the Phillies traded him to the Chicago White Sox for international bonus money.

He bounced around the minors for a few years with Chicago, Tampa (he got two more major league innings with the Rays in 2019), and Detroit, but spent most of the past four years pitching in other countries.

In 2020 it was South Korea. In 2022 it was China. He played in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2022-23 and 2023-24. And then made two starts in the Caribbean Series for Venezuela in the winter, earning MVP honors and leading Venezuela to a championship.

The Phillies offered him a minor league contract in May.

Now 30, Pinto was a long shot to make the Phillies roster, and they were stretching him out to be a spot starter/long man for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

But then injuries to Taijuan Walker and ineffectiveness for Connor Brogdon opened the door for the Phillies to select his contract. They needed someone who could provide innings. Their bullpen was taxed already, just four games into the season.

So, he got the phone call Tuesday morning. The Phillies wanted him for the game that night. Thing is, Lehigh Valley was in Rochester, N.Y. The Phillies tried to find him a flight that would get him to the stadium on time but had no luck. So, they got him a car and he made the drive south.

Somewhere close to Allentown, he hit traffic. He called the team and told him there was no way he was going to make it in time for a 6:40pm first pitch.

The Phillies told him to keep coming and get there as soon as he could. Pinto arrived in the third inning. He immediately suited up, made a quick pit stop in the dugout to say hello, and then went and got loose throwing in the batting cage. He made his way out to the bullpen in the fifth inning and then was warming up and entered the game in the sixth inning.

With barely any time to think, Pinto had a perfect sixth inning. Then, he had a scoreless seventh inning, allowing just one hit. He yielded a run in the eighth, but it was unearned. He then gave up a few hits and a couple runs in the ninth, but the game was already in hand at that point.

In the end, because he pitched three-plus innings of relief and finished the game, he earned his first major league save in his first game since September 1, 2019.

While the save was credited for what happened on the field, it was even more valuable for what didn’t happen off it. None of the other seven pitcher sin the Phillies bullpen had to pitch. It was a much-needed day off for that group. In essence, Pinto saved the pen.

“I never gave up on this,” Pinto said through an interpreter. “I feel that I’m mentally in a better position than I was before. I did not have that maturity on the mound.”

It’s one of those cool stories that fades into the background, but everyone will still remember in conversations years from now.

Spencer Turnbull, No. 5 starter

Originally expected to be in the role so perfectly filled Tuesday by Pinto, Turnbull was elevated to the rotation when it was determined that Taijuan Walker would start the season on the injured list.

He wasn’t completely built up to start a game, but the Phillies felt they could get about 80 pitches out of him, and they hoped he could extend that out to at least five innings. Boy, did he.

Turnbull tossed those five innings and allowed only one unearned run, courtesy of a Trea Turner throwing error, while striking out seven.

It was as impressive a Phillies debut as could be expected for a guy who hadn’t pitched in the majors since last May.

If he can do the same for his next couple starts, until Walker is ready, he could turn out to be a really valuable swing man for the Phillies this season.

He would have been a great story, had not Pinto had his whirlwind day and Harper not turned into Superman. But hey, at least he’ll never forget his first appearance as a Phillie.

“[Harper] had a really good day,” said Turnbull. “It was awesome to see. It’s really fun to see guys get hot – especially like that. I’m sure I’ll always remember that part.”