The fourth inning had a promising start for the Phillies. Jayson Werth beat out a slow roller to third, arriving at first in a cloud of dust after a headfirst slide. Ben Francisco followed with a booming drive to center and actually got a bad break when it hopped over the centerfield fence for a ground-rule double, meaning Werth had to stop at third.

Still, even down by a run with the bottom of the order coming up, the Phillies seemed to have Marlins starter Nate Robertson right where they wanted him. Except that it didn't work out that way. After Juan Castro struck out, catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a line drive to center. If it fell in, the Phillies might have taken the lead. Even if it was caught, the score should have been tied.

But Werth broke for the plate when the ball was hit, came back and tagged up after he realized it was going to be caught, did a U-turn and started for home again, stopped, retreated . . . and watched helplessly as the throw from Cameron Maybin sailed far over the head of catcher John Baker.

It was a curious sequence, especially with pitcher Cole Hamels now batting with two outs.

"On that play, we were going on contact when the ball was hit," Werth said.

Generally, the contact play is reserved for balls hit on the ground.

"I broke and by the time I got back to the bag, I didn't get a good push off third," he continued. "So when I looked to the outfield, he was already throwing the ball. I put my head down and took a couple steps and stopped running and, at that time, I didn't see the double clutch. I looked up and the ball was going by the cutoff man. At that point, I couldn't really tell where the ball was going. I had already shut the play down, which I think was the right decision.

"Looking back at it, if I would have gotten a good push off the bag I probably would have gone, with the pitcher coming up. But if the throw is anywhere close I'm out by 25, 30 feet."

Manager Charlie Manuel's explanation: "[Werth] came down the line like he was going to go, and once he decided he wasn't, he turned and went back. And when the guy threw the ball away, he was already headed back to the bag and, by then, he couldn't react and score.

"If he did something wrong, he probably turned too quick and was headed back toward the bag."

That wasn't the Phillies' only chance to score, although they only got one more runner as far as second after that. But on an afternoon when they lost, 2-0, while going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, it might have been their best opportunity. And tying the game at that point could have changed the complexion of the game.

D-day for Happ

Before the Phillies board the buses that will take them to the airport for their charter flight to Atlanta late this afternoon, lefthander J.A. Happ will throw on the side at Citizens Bank Park. After that, a decision will be made on whether the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up will be placed on the disabled list with a tight forearm.

Happ last pitched on Thursday against the Nationals and a noticeable dip in velocity was the first outward hint that something could be wrong.

Manager Charlie Manuel pointed out that, with an open date today, the Phillies could skip Happ this time around the rotation. They wouldn't need a fifth starter until Saturday in Arizona.

Kyle Kendrick has been listed as the probable starter for tomorrow night against the Braves at Turner Field, but the Phillies have not announced their pitching plans beyond that. Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.38), Tim Hudson (1-0, 2.84) and Derek Lowe (3-0, 4.67) will start for Atlanta.

"It's a soreness or a stiffness," Manuel said. "I don't think it's real serious. I think it's like a charley horse or something that you can work out. That's the assessment that I get. But we don't know yet. We'll see."


With lefthander Nate Robertson starting for Florida yesterday, Ben Francisco started in leftfield in place of Raul Ibanez (.175-0-5 before striking out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth) for the first time this season. He reached base twice in four plate appearances on a walk and a double . . . Rehab report: Joe Blanton (strained oblique) will make his first rehab start for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws tomorrow night against Hagerstown. If all goes well, he'll make two more minor league starts and then be activated. Closer Brad Lidge (knee, elbow) will make his fifth rehab appearance for the Class A Clearwater Threshers today in Tampa. In his first two outings, he gave up five runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings. In his last two appearances he pitched two innings without giving up a run or a hit . . . A crowd of 45,405 was the Phillies' 48th consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park.