Even the game's most exciting moment was dulled. Giancarlo Stanton, the one Marlin who strikes fear in opponents, batted as the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. He bounced the first pitch Jake Diekman threw him - a 98 m.p.h. fastball - to third base for an easy third out.
Few can match Diekman's last six weeks. He has allowed one run in his last 18 appearances since Aug. 11 for a 0.55 ERA. He has struck out 23 and walked two in 161/3 innings during that span.
That serves as one positive for a team that craves a blank slate. That does not arrive until Sunday evening.
Injuries to four starting pitchers necessitated Miner's presence in the rotation. He gutted through four innings in his second major-league start since 2009.
"I'm happy with every outing I have right now," Miner said. "It's been a long couple of years. I'm very grateful for the opportunity the Phillies are giving me."
Manager Ryne Sandberg has monitored a young team in the season's twilight. He didn't start Cody Asche on Tuesday. The 23-year-old third baseman has amassed 612 plate appearances between the minors and majors this season. Sandberg noticed his slowed bat in recent days.
Cameron Rupp, the team's third catcher, will go to Arizona for more baseball when the Phillies scatter. The 24-year-old made his second start this month, singled to center, and oversaw a well-pitched game. Sandberg expects the burly Texan to fight for the backup-catcher job next spring.
The starter, of course, is undetermined. Sandberg identified starting pitching as the franchise's No. 1 priority this winter. He amended that Tuesday to say the catching situation could take precedence because of the market conditions and fragility of the position. "The sooner the better," Sandberg said.
He endorsed Carlos Ruiz, whom he has batted cleanup for all of September. The two sides could act quickly when the market opens because of the dearth of catching options.
Both Sandberg and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. implied Tuesday that an offer was made to Ruiz's camp. It is difficult to imagine a deal happening this close to free agency, a process Ruiz has never experienced.
"The way he's performed, I would hope he'd be back," Sandberg said. "He's a righthanded bat. His status here, him being comfortable here. Maybe the ball's in his corner and he could help with that decision. It could come down to that, where he wants to go."
"We'd like to bring him back," Amaro said. "He knows we'd like to bring him back. We'll see what happens."
Ruiz is guaranteed a big-league job somewhere in 2014. For the Zach Miners and Cameron Rupps of the baseball world, these games carry importance.