PHILADELPHIA--Dee Gordon kicked the mess around first base into a pile. The Philadelphia Phillies had mobbed Hyun Soo Kim, ripped his jersey from his body and showered him with water and gum and whatever else they snatched from the dugout. But they had not won.
The Phillies bat boy helped Gordon collect the debris. Then, once the umpires ruled Cesar Hernandez out at home, the grounds crew emerged -- to sweep gum. The game continued. Forever.
The Phillies won Tuesday, then they lost. Then they played another seven innings and beat the Marlins, 9-8, with a 15th-inning Nick Williams double. They overcame a five-run deficit, celebrated a win that did not exist and surrendered another lead only to tie it with Rhys Hoskins' second homer of the night. It took 4 hours, 57 minutes. It will be remembered as one of their better wins.
It should have ended sooner.
Kim slashed a single to right with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth. Williams scored the tying run. Hernandez, inserted as a pinch-runner, should have scored ahead of Giancarlo Stanton's throw. But his slide was bad. Very bad. A review that lasted 1 minute, 42 seconds confirmed that.
The game resumed. Odubel Herrera struck out. It went to extra innings. Hector Neris surrendered a decisive homer to Marcell Ozuna on his sixth pitch.
Hoskins redeemed everyone with his 16th homer in his 32nd game and his second of the night. When he steps to the plate, anything is possible. That is such a foreign feeling for Phillies followers.
This is, of course, a different roster than the one that accumulated chunks of summertime losses. The Phillies that jogged onto the grass Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park had not yet been grouped together, not all at once, and it was another glimpse. Their outfielders -- 24, 25 and 26 years old -- were whole again. Their 24-year-old slugging first baseman joined them at his natural position. Their 22-year-old top prospect manned a new spot, second base. Their 24-year-old catcher started.
But Nick Pivetta allowed seven runs in five innings. Pivetta, 24, has a 6.75 ERA in his 23 starts. Only one pitcher with at least 20 starts in his first season has ever posted a worse mark: Colby Lewis stumbled to a 7.30 ERA in 2003 as a rookie with Texas. Pivetta has endured a historic beating.
That must be corrected. For now, Hoskins provides a distraction from the carnage with every time at bat.