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Myers hurt in costly Phillies win

MIAMI - It turned from one of the most unbelievable meltdowns in memory into one of the biggest disasters in minutes. The Phillies still won. But at what price?

MIAMI - It turned from one of the most unbelievable meltdowns in memory into one of the biggest disasters in minutes.

And the Phillies still won. But at what price?

Brett Myers, the team's most reliable pitcher in a porous bullpen, strained his right shoulder in the bottom of the ninth inning tonight in an incredible but costly 8-7 victory over the Florida Marlins in 10 innings at Dolphin Stadium.

After the Phillies had blown a four-run lead thanks to some spectacular mental mistakes, Myers uncorked a wild pitch to Miguel Olivo and grabbed his upper right arm. He immediately left the game.

It's unknown how serious the injury is, but if he misses any time (it seems almost a certainty) the big question immediately becomes: Who is the new closer?

Tom Gordon isn't even close to returning from inflammation in his right shoulder, so that would leave righthanders Antonio Alfonseca or Ryan Madson as the most viable candidates. Obviously, losing Myers would be a terrible loss. He entered the night 1-0 with six saves and a 0.90 ERA in 17 relief appearances this season. He led National League relief pitchers with 30 strikeouts.

Those answers could become clearer on Thursday.

But the Phillies at least returned to .500 for the fourth time this season when Jimmy Rollins scored from third on a single to left by Abraham Nunez in the top of the 10th inning.

But how did it even get to that point?

The Phillies had scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 7-3 lead. Myers already had warmed up before the Phils scored those runs, so manager Charlie Manuel sent him to the mound to finish the job.

Pinch-hitter Todd Linden and Alfredo Amezaga both hit flare singles to left field to start the inning. Dan Uggla then ripped a triple down the third-base line to score both runners to make it 7-5.

OK, no problem.

Hanley Ramirez bunted a ball up the first-base line. He put the ball in a perfect spot where the Phillies had no chance to throw out Uggla at home. Except first baseman Greg Dobbs picked up the ball and surprisingly threw home instead of taking the sure out at first base. Catcher Rod Barajas wasn't even near home plate when he took the throw.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee's eyes almost fell out of his head as he watched the play unfold from the Phillies' dugout.

So instead of a 7-6 game with nobody on and one out, it was a 7-6 game with a runner on first no outs.

Myers struck out Miguel Cabrera for the first out, but he hit Josh Willingham with a pitch to put the tying run on second and the go-ahead run at first. Myers struck out Jeremy Hermida looking on an off-speed pitch for the second out.

Could Myers work out of the jam? It wouldn't be that easy.

Aaron Boone singled to left. In one of the worst decisions of the night, Marlins third base coach Bo Porter sent Ramirez home even though leftfielder Jayson Werth had already scooped up the ball and started his delivery when Ramirez had hit third.

Ramirez had no chance.


The throw arrived perfectly and in plenty of time. Barajas just needed to stay down to block the plate. But for some reason, he eased out of his crouch and applied a high tag. Ramirez simply slid underneath Barajas' legs to score.

The Florida dugout erupted at the Marlins' incredible fortune.

So did the Phillies.

Manuel and Barajas both argued, and both were ejected.

Barajas chucked his mask as he walked into the dugout.

That's when Myers threw a 1-0 pitch to Olivo over Carlos Ruiz's head and pulled up lame. Clay Condrey entered and walked Olivo to load the bases, but he snared a line drive from Linden straight at his heart to end the inning.

Condrey pitched the 10th to pick up the win.

But at what price?