It's the rarest confluence of events that brings together a franchise's past, present and possible future in the same ballpark for a single game.
For the Phillies, Monday provided one of those moments.
It was a night to honor Chase Utley, the hard-nosed second baseman and face of the Phillies' decade-old World Series championship. It was a night to admire Rhys Hoskins, the slugging leftfielder and face of a young Phillies club that is unexpectedly perched atop the National League East standings.
And yes, it was a night to dream about Manny Machado, the star shortstop who got traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week but will be pursued aggressively in the offseason as the face of the next great Phillies team.
That it ended in a 7-6 Dodgers win, with Phillies rookie phenom Seranthony Dominguez giving up two runs in the top of the ninth inning, was almost beside the point.
Utley made a rare start for the Dodgers and received both the predictably thunderous ovations from the announced crowd of 33,753 and a This Is Your Life-style tribute from the Citizens Bank Park scoreboard operators. Hoskins crushed a three-run homer — one of eight home runs hit between the teams — to get the Phillies even in the fifth inning. And Machado, playing third base for the Dodgers, tripled into the right-field corner and slid headfirst into home plate to beat a tag on a medium-depth sacrifice fly to tie the game again in the seventh.
Past. Present. Future?
"I think that's as much of a playoff atmosphere as you're going to get during the regular season," said Phillies starter Zach Eflin, who lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his shortest start since his major-league debut on June 14, 2016. "We look forward to continuing that and having all the fans come out. It was awesome."
The Phillies rallied from a 4-1 deficit on Hoskins' homer and took a 5-4 lead on Odubel Herrera's subsequent solo shot into reliever Austin Davis' waiting glove in the bullpen.
Dominguez entered a 5-5 game in the ninth inning, loaded the bases on two walks and a hit, and gave up the go-ahead run on a wild pitch before being lifted for Luis Garcia, who yielded an RBI single to Matt Kemp.
Dominguez blamed his uncharacteristically poor fastball command. Catcher Jorge Alfaro blamed himself for not blocking what manager Gabe Kapler believed was an exceedingly difficult pitch to block because of its sinking action.
"I should catch it. That's it," Alfaro said. "I should catch that ball, at least keep it in front."
There were other minor lapses in execution. Rightfielder Nick Williams was unable to hold Machado to a double, and Herrera might have hesitated slightly on his throw from center field to the plate, although Kapler noted that "Machado's fast and got a good jump," traits that undoubtedly aren't lost on the Phillies' decision-makers.
The Phillies made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth against Dodgers all-star closer Kenley Jansen. Maikel Franco led off with his second homer of the game — his first multi-homer performance since April 22, 2016 — to cut the deficit to one run. But Jansen locked it down from there, and the Phillies slipped back into a first-place tie with the Atlanta Braves.
"I'm not surprised at all," Utley said of the Phillies' success. "They acquired a lot of young talent two years ago, and it's starting to get to the major league level, it's starting to show."
Asked whether he would recommend signing with the Phillies to a teammate who will soon be a free agent (read: Machado), Utley smiled ever so slightly and said, "If you want to play in front of great fans that want to win, in a beautiful ballpark — and as long as you can deal with the humidity."
Two weeks after announcing his plans to retire at season's end, Utley made his final regular-season trip to the ballpark where he became a franchise icon. And Phillies fans didn't miss one of their last chances to show their appreciation.
Utley's first curtain call came before he even took the field, the fans standing to applaud when public-address announcer Dan Baker spoke Utley's name in the pregame introduction of the Dodgers' lineup. Utley got another standing ovation — 50 seconds in duration — before his first at-bat and stepped out of the box to salute the fans once again.
The Phillies feted Utley, too, posting a series of images on the scoreboard during each at-bat. It began with a Little League photo in the second inning and was followed by a picture from his college days at UCLA in the third inning, a shot of him signing his first professional contract in the sixth inning and a photo with the late Paul Owens in the eighth.
There is a scenario, of course, where this week's three-game series won't be the final time Utley plays in Philadelphia. If the Dodgers and Phillies both make the playoffs, they could meet again in October, another chance for the past, present and possible future to converge.
"It would be cool," Utley said. "Anytime you're playing in October it's cool. Yeah, it would be a trip."