PHILADELPHIA -

It was a nothing at-bat by a .153-batting pinch hitter in a half-empty ballpark in the eighth inning of a game between two also-rans.

It became something more.

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., reinstated from the bereavement list Tuesday after the death last week of his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Sr., approached the plate in Tuesday's game against the Miami Marlins, and the applause began.

It continued, and those who remained in the crowd of 24,860 rose to their feet.

Miami catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia went to the mound, even though he didn't have to, so that the ovation could continue. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg called it a special moment.

"Needless to say it was pretty awesome," the younger Gwynn said later as he sat in the Phillies' clubhouse, surrounded by reporters. "It made the at-bat a little more difficult. I had to try to fight back emotions and tears and stuff like that. That's why guys who play here, they love it here. ... It's much appreciated by the Gwynn family."

Gwynn eventually grounded out, and later he talked about all the support he received, from those back in his hometown of San Diego as well as his teammates.

Then his voice caught.

"Excuse me," he said.

He bowed his head, and the tears came.

"Needless to say," he said, "it's been nice."