HOUSTON - Pedro Feliz isn't fleet of foot, but the Phillies still thought Darin Erstad needed to make a picture-perfect throw from left field to nail him at the plate in the ninth inning tonight at Minute Maid Park.

Catch. Throw. Out.


Erstad's throw nipped Feliz at the plate to end the game in a 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros.

"I send him. I send him, really," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel repeated. "He's had a bad arm in the past, and I thought when the ball was hit, I questioned how good his arm was. He made a good throw, man. He made a hell of a throw."

The Phillies had runners on second and third with no outs in the ninth, but they couldn't score a single run.

That play overshadowed another iffy performance by Brett Myers, who allowed eight hits, four runs and four walks in six innings to take the loss. Myers, the Phillies' opening-day starter the last two seasons, was 2-1 with a 3.96 ERA (11 earned runs in 25 innings) after his first four starts this season. He is 0-5 with a 6.92 ERA (31 earned runs in 401/3 innings) in his seven starts since.

Myers had just finished addressing reporters in the visitors' clubhouse afterward when he turned around to add one more thing.

"There's no quit in me," he said. "My pride's not going to let me quit."

Myers found himself in trouble and in deep counts throughout. He worked Carlos Lee to a 0-2 count with runners on first and second with two outs in the first, but fell behind 3-2. Lee took advantage and ripped a breaking ball to left field for a double to score both runners to hand the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Myers worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third. He allowed a run to score in the fifth on Lee's two-out single to left. He allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth when pinch-hitter Mark Loretta singled to center.

"They're not offering at pitches that people usually chase at," Myers said. "I don't know what's going on. In Loretta's last at-bat, I threw two good breaking balls with two strikes that he didn't even offer at. They started as strikes and end up down. Usually you get swings at that. I'm not getting the swings."

So what can he do?

"Throw strikes and give up base hits, like what happened," he said. "What the heck am I supposed to do? That's the only thing I know how to do. It ticks me off, but that's the only thing I can think of."

He'll try to find more answers before his next start Friday against Florida.