For the first time since May 21, Charlie Manuel wrote the Phillies' eight regular players on his lineup card Tuesday.
"Hopefully," Manuel said before the game, "we'll start scoring more runs."
Sixteen innings later, the Phillies had scored just twice in a 4-2 loss to Houston. Pitcher Roy Oswalt was playing left field. Raul Ibanez was at first base for the first time since 2005. And, after the bullpen had been emptied, Rule 5 pick David Herndon threw 50 pitches.
Hey, at least Roy Halladay is still pitching Wednesday.
What was arguably the most bizarre game in Citizens Bank Park history ended early Wednesday morning - shortly after Chase Utley was intentionally walked to put the tying run on base for Oswalt.
The fans who remained from the season's largest crowd stood and chanted, "Let's go Oswalt!"
The pitcher grounded out to third on the fifth pitch he saw, 5 hours, 20 minutes after the game began.
"I'm not sure what I think about the whole thing just yet," Jayson Werth said. "I'll take a quick nap here and come back tomorrow refreshed and act like that didn't happen."
The Phillies were frustrated, just as they were after Monday's 3-2 loss in which a disputed call by umpire Greg Gibson turned the game. On Tuesday, their slugger, Ryan Howard, went after another member of the umpiring crew.
After Howard was rung up by third-base umpire Scott Barry for his fifth strikeout of the night in the 14th inning, the first baseman went ballistic. He tossed his bat and helmet and immediately charged after Barry, a triple-A fill-in umpire.
"I've never seen him upset like that," Manuel said.
Howard was ejected for the second time in his career. He had to be restrained by teammates. Ross Gload, who is on the disabled list, was also ejected for arguing. Both could be suspended.
As fans threw debris onto the field, Manuel met with Rich Dubee and Davey Lopes to figure out the nine players he would field. The Phillies used their last position player, Brian Schneider, in a 13th-inning double switch. Manuel settled on Oswalt, the righthander making $15 million, to play left and Ibanez at first.
Ibanez hadn't played first base since May 6, 2005. He said he offered to play after Howard was ejected. He went onto the field with Joe Blanton's glove and was ready to play with it until Mike Sweeney handed Ibanez a first-baseman's mitt.
"That was definitely strange," Ibanez said.
In the 16th, the Astros finally broke through against Herndon, who was tiring. With the bases loaded, Chris Johnson reach on an infield single to score Hunter Pence. Another run scored when Ibanez dropped what would have completed a double play.
To think, that in the ninth the Phillies were down to their final out when Jimmy Rollins homered deep to right to tie the game. Then it got weird.
The Phillies used all of their relievers, including Herndon and Danys Baez. Baez pitched a perfect 13th inning, the first clean inning he's had this month. It was the first time he entered a tie game since June 13.
"You never know when you'll have an important situation," Baez said a week ago, "and you need to be sharp."
OK, so all it took the longest game of the season for the Phillies to require Baez's presence in an important situation.
In the ninth, the largest crowd at Citizens Bank Park this season stood for a curtain call. Forget that, Cole Hamels probably would have hugged Rollins if he had the chance.
At least things are somewhat looking up for Hamels. The Phils scored a run with him still in the game for the first time since Aug. 1, a span of 25 innings. Later, Rollins' home run took Hamels off the hook, and deservedly so.
Hamels has a 2.83 ERA in eight starts since the all-star break but does not have a win to show for it. In those games, the Phillies are 4-4.
In the fourth, Carlos Lee, the Houston slugger who signed a $100 million deal in 2007 and is having the worst season of his career, hit an 82 m.p.h. change-up low in the zone. It landed deep in the left-field stands for a two-run home run.
For a while, it looked like that's all it would take for the Astros to win, one Hamels mistake.
Manuel can't ask for much more from his pitching, especially Hamels. With his regular lineup finally intact, Manuel said he expects an adjustment period.
After 16 innings Tuesday - the franchise's longest game since 2006 - there were few positives.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb.