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Barajas blunder almost ruins Fishing expedition in grate escape

MIAMI - In a 10-minute span, the Phillies went from floating to a win that could have left them at .500 to wondering if their season is cursed.

Greg Dobbs threw home. Rod Barajas stood up.

Because of that, Brett Myers faced two hitters he shouldn't have. He strained his right shoulder.

The Phillies beat the Marlins, 8-7, in 10 innings. That seemed a minor matter.

They already were playing without All-Star closer Tom Gordon, idled since May 2 because of a shoulder injury and an upper-respiratory infection. Gordon will be out indefinitely.

They already had missed Ryan Howard for 14 days, and he hadn't been his MVP self all season thanks to a pair of left-leg injuries that have him on the disabled list until at least tomorrow.

And now, Myers.

Last night, Myers threw his 26th pitch and felt something wrong. He threw his 27th pitch high and wild, and finally.

Finally, because he immediately clutched the back of his right arm - the arm that gave the Phillies' bullpen legitimacy since he left the rotation and went to the bullpen April 18. He had a 0.90 earned run average out of the bullpen.

"I don't know what it was," Myers said, his shoulder encased in ice. "I don't think it popped and tore. There was no weakness. No huge pain. It felt weird. Like, I better not throw another pitch."

Myers was examined by Marlins team doctors. He will be re-examined today. If he needs an MRI, he will be sent to Philadelphia to be examined by team doctors, assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Myers' thoughts on the ninth inning that manager Charlie Manuel called "haywire," in which Myers gave up four runs:

"No comment."

Myers replaced Gordon as the closer May 3. And now, the Phillies have no closer. They will shuttle the mantle among Antonio Alfonseca, Geoff Geary and Ryan Madson.

They do have interest in 37-year-old free agent Troy Percival, whose comeback from retirement should be complete in a couple of weeks. But for a couple of weeks, it's potluck.

This is why:

The Phillies led in the ninth inning, 7-5, Myers having given up two runs in a non-save situation on Dan Uggla's triple. Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez bunted toward first base, hoping to score Uggla to make it a one-run game.

Incredibly, Dobbs came home, where there was no play. Ramirez was safe at first, representing the tying run.

What was Dobbs thinking?

"I wasn't," Dobbs said, fully remorseful. "I'm praying I didn't aid in Brett being out for a long time. I'm sick to my stomach. I want to go over to him, but I can't even talk to him right now. I'm praying to God he's going to be OK."

Myers regrouped and struck out Miguel Cabrera. He hit Josh Willingham but fanned Jeremy Hermida for the second out - which should have been the third, remember - setting up Barajas' gaffe.

Aaron Boone singled to shallow leftfield. Jayson Werth fielded it cleanly and fired home, where Ramirez was out by at least 20 feet. Except Barajas chose to rise instead of block the plate. Ramirez slid under the tag. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons called Ramirez safe; tie game.

Barajas went ballistic. He got ejected. Manuel soon followed.

Replays convinced Manuel of Timmons' correctness, though.

"Ninety-nine times out of a hundred they're going to call that guy out," Manuel said.

Barajas believes he should have gotten the call.

"I didn't see anything conclusive," Barajas said.

He didn't see the big deal, either, concerning his tagging technique.

"I wasn't sure what [Ramirez] was going to do," Barajas said. "I didn't want to be down low and give him a good shot at me, maybe knock the ball loose."

Manuel seethed over the mental miscues.

"Those are mistakes that you don't make," he said.

Barajas' take: "Since we won the game, we can look back and laugh at some of those plays.''

Myers settled and threw ball one to Miguel Olivo - again, a hitter he should not have had to face. He threw ball two wild, allowing the runners to advance.

It was his last pitch, probably for quite a while.

Myers is 6-for-7 in save opportunities. He had been dominating. He faced a future as the long-term answer as the Phillies bullpen's anchor. Now, his immediate future is uncertain.

And after all that, the Phillies won.

Abraham Nuñez's two-out, RBI single off Kevin Gregg (0-2) drove in Jimmy Rollins in the 10th to make them 23-23. Nuñez also doubled and scored in the fourth.

Chase Utley, who entered the game 2-for-18 in his last five games, finished a double shy of a cycle. His two-run home run in the first, his ninth homer of the season, started the scoring off Byung-Hyun Kim. Utley walked in the third, singled off Kim in the fifth, then tripled and scored the first of three insurance runs the Phillies added in the ninth off Lee Gardner - all three extremely necessary, as it turned out.

Somehow, Freddy Garcia slogged through another medium-length, 100-plus-pitch outing - six innings, 112 pitches, a 4-3 lead when he left.

Geary pitched out of a jam in the seventh. Alfonseca followed with a less-dramatic eighth. Clay Condrey (2-0) replaced Myers, walked Olivo, but caught Todd Linden's scorching line drive to end the ninth and finished it in the 10th.

"I would've died if it got me," Condrey said, still blanched.

At least that didn't happen. *