About an hour and a half after the final out was recorded, fireworks blasted across the Philadelphia skyline behind the center-field backdrop of Citizens Bank Park.
Inside the stadium, not a peep was heard from the Phillies before the night lit up around the city for the Fourth of July.
A major weakness for the rebuilding Phillies was glaringly evident in a 3-0 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday (see Instant Replay). Pete Mackanin's team, sitting at a majors-worst 28-54, simply does not have a bat that can consistently change the game in one swing.
Not yet it doesn't.
Maybe it develops one down the road, but for now, the Phillies are missing such a dynamic and this most recent defeat showed that gaping hole. The Phillies stranded 11 men on base and went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position as Pittsburgh put out fire after fire.
"That's tough to take," Mackanin said. "If we execute those situations, we have a better chance to win games."
The Phillies left at least one runner aboard in seven innings. Four times they failed to knock in a man standing on third, three of those occasions coming with one out, which was all really more of the same for a team that struggles to sustain offensive momentum. In winning their previous two games, the Phillies broke out for 11 runs.
Then it was back to falling flat. This season, with runners on third base and less than two outs, the Phillies are hitting .217, last in baseball. In all situations with a runner on third, they're hitting .205 for a ranking of 28th out of 30 big-league teams.
"From my perspective, you've got to be ready to hit early in the count so you don't get two strikes," Mackanin said. "You get a pitch early in the count that you can just put in play, you're going to drive in runs. You don't want to get behind where the pitcher can expand the strike zone on you. Plus, in my opinion, we take too many good pitches to hit, especially with two strikes and men in scoring position.
"We've got guys that have potential, that have shown they're capable of driving runs in, but we need more of it."
One of those guys is Maikel Franco. The Phillies hope the 24-year-old eventually turns into a big bopper, a middle-of-the-order nemesis that turns offensive threats into explosions.
Right now, though, Franco has lacked the constant approach to capitalize on running-producing opportunities. On Tuesday, the Phillies' third baseman went 0 for 4, which included 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and twice leaving a runner on third. Despite 42 RBIs, Franco is hitting just .203 with RISP.
"That's what we're looking for — that consistency in the middle of the lineup," Mackanin said. "That's been one of our biggest issues."
But this loss wasn't all on Franco. The Phillies have collectively faltered in timely spots. Five different Phillies left multiple men on base Tuesday, including Aaron Altherr, who stranded five and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out as the Phillies trailed, 2-0, in the seventh inning. The offense also racked up 14 strikeouts, nine of which came against Pirates starter Jameson Taillon, who set a career high in only five innings of work.
"He was hitting tough spots," said Nick Williams, who went 0 for 4 after reaching base safely in his first four big-league games. "They said he keeps the ball down and I guess you don't really understand until you get to the plate. He mixed his pitches up and hit some good spots in tough situations."
Meanwhile, Pirates five-time All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen needed just two loud swings to smack two runs on the scoreboard. He hit a pair of solo home runs, accounting for just about all of the game's offense. The first was a line-drive shot off of Phillies starter Mark Leiter Jr. in the sixth inning. The second, McCutchen jumped on an elevated 97-mph fastball from reliever Ricardo Pinto in the eighth and clanged it off the second-deck facing in left field.
"You don't see many guys hit that high fastball out of the ballpark like McCutchen did," Mackanin said.
On a positive note for the Phillies, Leiter kept his team in another game. The Toms River, New Jersey, native was making his first home major-league start. He said a ton of family and friends were on hand. He fought through 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball and has gone 1-1 with 16 strikeouts, three walks and a 3.31 ERA over 16 1/3 innings filling in for the injured Jerad Eickhoff (back).
"There were a lot of people here for me," Leiter said. "It was good to have them come out to the game, most of them had off of work. It was cool to have everybody here today."
If only some offense showed up.