Brett Myers could afford to relax and joke about his misfortune as he sat in a chair in front of his locker last night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies had won.
"I wanted to go back out there the next inning," he said after he blew a save in the ninth inning of a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. But he didn't have to, thanks to Carlos Ruiz's two-out solo home run to left-center field.
"Ruiz messed that up for me," Myers joked.
Ruiz entered this season as the expected backup to veteran catcher Rod Barajas, but slowly has worked himself into much more than that. He crushed a 2-1 fastball off righthander Derrick Turnbow in the ninth for the first game-winning homer of his career. Ruiz is hitting .295, with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
The Phillies have won five of their last six games and can reach .500 for the first time this season with a victory tonight. Among the memorable moments: Ryan Howard pinch-hit a grand slam in the seventh inning Wednesday in a 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. They scored six runs in the seventh Saturday in an 11-7 triumph over the Chicago Cubs, and six runs in the eighth Monday in an 8-6 win over the Brewers.
Then Ruiz went deep.
Turnbow threw Ruiz a first-pitch fastball for a strike and followed with two sliders for balls.
Ruiz said he expected the next pitch to be a fastball. He hoped for one middle-in.
Turnbow, who also took the loss Monday, obliged.
"Go deep," Ruiz said, asked what he was thinking as he stepped to the plate.
Ruiz bailed out Myers, who had been almost perfect since he moved to the bullpen. He had allowed just one earned run in 15 1/3 innings for a 0.59 ERA in his first 13 appearances. Myers (1-2) had been 4 for 4 in save situations.
But after he picked up an out in the eighth inning, he opened the ninth with a first-pitch splitter to Johnny Estrada, who knows Myers well from their time together in the Phillies' farm system. Estrada hit it over the right-field wall for a homer to make it 3-3.
"I made a terrible pitch," Myers said.
Ruiz kidded Myers on Monday that he had a terrible splitter that night. Myers had a much better splitter last night, but it didn't work out. Of course, Myers joked later that it was Ruiz's fault that Estrada hit the homer because Ruiz had called for the pitch.
"Keep working on your splitter, OK?" Ruiz shot back.
"He's aggressive," Myers said. "He's a great game-caller. He's a battler. He likes having fun in the game, and that's what I like about him."
Lost in the late-inning dramatics was Phillies righthander Adam Eaton, who allowed four hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
It looks as if Eaton might have righted himself. In his first six starts, he had a league-worst 8.18 ERA. But in his last two starts, he has a 2.45 ERA.
The Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Greg Dobbs hit a solo homer to right-center that landed in the Phillies' bullpen.
They extended it to 3-1 in the sixth. Jimmy Rollins singled to center with one out and moved to third on Chase Utley's single to left-center. Rollins scored when Pat Burrell hit a ball back to Claudio Vargas. The pitcher spun and threw to second, but Utley already was running on the play and beat the throw. Second baseman Rickie Weeks almost didn't even get the throw to first in time to get Burrell.
Eaton allowed a solo homer to Prince Fielder in the eighth, and Myers allowed the homer to Estrada to tie it.
Ruiz saved the day.
"We could have scored some more runs, but we got the big hit at the right time," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He smoked it. He got around on it. He hit it a long ways for a little guy."
View a photo gallery of last night's game at http://go.philly.com/photos.EndText