MIAMI - Brett Myers had a chance to pitch like a top-of-the-rotation starter tonight at Dolphin Stadium.
He had looked more like one recently, and perhaps had started to fulfill the Phillies' expectations that he and Cole Hamels would form a dominant 1-2 punch atop their rotation.
Myers had a 3.62 ERA in his last four starts and a 2.35 ERA in his last two, but he took a step backward when he allowed five runs and three home runs in just 51/3 innings in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Marlins.
"I pretty much stunk," Myers said. "I didn't go out there and shut them down like I was supposed to do."
Myers dropped to 3-8 with a 5.34 ERA.
He allowed a leadoff home run to Hanley Ramirez on a "bad" 0-1 change-up in the first inning. Jeremy Hermida followed with a walk before Jorge Cantu hit a two-run homer on a first-pitch fastball to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead.
"I felt like after the first inning I could attain what I did the last time against them," Myers said.
Myers allowed three runs in the first inning against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on May 30. He recovered to pitch eight innings and strike out 11 in a 12-3 victory that moved the Phillies into first place for the first time since May 16.
But after the Phils cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth inning last night on Jimmy Rollins' two-run homer, Myers allowed a two-run home run to Mike Jacobs on a "horrible" first-pitch slider in the bottom of the fifth. The Marlins led, 5-2.
"They're a really aggressive team, and when you make mistakes, they're going to take advantage of them," Chris Coste said.
"I didn't help us after we scored those two runs by going out there and having a shutdown inning," Myers said.
"I take full blame for that. You go out there and you have momentum, and I go out there and give up two runs we just got back and it pretty much takes the air out of your sails. It just wasn't a very good job."
Marlins righthander Ricky Nolasco pitched much better. He allowed three unearned runs in six innings, mixing in some sort of slider/cutter to lefthanders that they hadn't seen before.
But the Phillies still had chances. They just couldn't cash in.
If only Myers could have held the Marlins.
"Any time we're playing good and he goes to the mound, it's a good opportunity for him to pitch good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got hurt by the long ball. That's what did him in."
And his teammates, too.