Phillies win bittersweet game in Florida
Win game in extra innings but lose their closer to injury
MIAMI -- Focus on the win for a second, because the Phillies did, in fact, beat the Marlins, 8-7, at Dolphin Stadium.Now considering that it came despite blowing a four-run, ninth-inning lead on two bloop singles, a triple, two serious defensive lapses and a pitch from closer Brett Myers that could send him to the disabled list, the win is the sole bit of good news for the team. "I'm sick to my stomach," said Greg Dobbs, who was responsible for one of the two defensive lapses. "I want to eat, but can't. I feel tremendously responsible for that inning because we should have had three outs." We'll get to Dobbs in a bit. First, the Phillies got six innings from Freddy Garcia, benefited from three hits from Chase Utley, including a homer and a triple, took the lead on a bases-loaded walk in the sixth, then added on three runs in the ninth. There's your four-run lead. Because Myers was preparing to save a one-run game, Manuel let him pitch in a non-save situation. Todd Linden and Alfredo Amezaga began the inning with a bloop single, and scored on Dan Uggla's triple. Hanley Ramirez then bunted to first, and Dobbs inexplicably threw home, instead of tagging Ramirez or stepping the base. Huge mistake number one. What was he thinking? "I wasn't," he said. "Quote it. Print it right on front page. 'What was Dobbs thinking?' I saw it all happen right in front of me in super slow mo. As I released the ball, I went 'whyyyyyyyyy." Rowand chimed in, "Nooooooooo!" in his best slo-mo impersonation voice. "What are you doing?' Dobbs continued. "I should've taken the ball and either tagged Ramirez or gone to the bag, instead of being way too aggressive. It was just stupid. Afterward, I was so disgusted with myself that I just started walking in circles, thinking 'Did I just do that?'" He did, and Ramirez would later score the tying run, after Myers nearly got the Phillies out of the jam, by striking out Miguel Cabrera and Jeremy Hermida, sandwiched around Josh Willingham being hit by a pitch. If Dobbs makes that play, Hermida ends the game. Instead, Aaron Boone sliced a single to shallow left field. With Ramirez still a few steps from third base, coach Bo Porter waved him around. Jayson Werth's throw beat Ramirez by 10 feet. "When I see Werth's throw coming to the plate, I'm thinking the game is over," manager Charlie Manuel said. With the ball and plenty of time, Barajas stood to tag Ramirez, bracing for a confrontation. Ramirez slid into him, getting his right foot to the plate before the tag. Barajas and Manuel fiercely argued, but the call stood, and the game continued. Huge mistake number two. "It was a mess," Barajas said. "I caught the ball down low and wasn't sure what [Ramirez] was going to do. I didn't want to get down low and have him get a good shot at me and maybe knock the ball out. I wanted to make sure I was in a strong position." While Manuel and Barajas both felt that a runner will get called out 99 out of 100 times when he is beat by so much, Manuel conceded that Barajas should "smother the guy, not even let him get to the plate." Two pitches later, Myers uncorked his 27th pitch of the inning, a wild pitch that forced him from the game with what was diagnosed as a right shoulder strain, and an incredible source of worry for the Phillies. Clay Condrey entered and completed the walk to Miguel Olivo, then was nearly speared on Todd Lindens comebacker, that he somehow snared. "It was either that or [off my] throat," Condrey said. "I don't know what happened after I caught the ball. I don't know how we scored. I don't know we got out of the next-half inning. I can't talk about it, but I'll dream about it." The Phillies did score on a bouncing ball stroked by Abraham Nunez -- fittingly past a diving Ramirez -- that Condrey made stand. Jimmy Rollins, who shook off an 8-for-60 skid with a single to start the 10th, scored the winning run. "That was the craziest game I've ever seen," third-base coach Steve Smith said. "I don't know how, but we got it," Manuel said. In the clubhouse, some of the Phillies tried to shake off what will be a devastating blow if Myers has to miss time. With Dobbs standing right there, Rowand joked that he can laugh at Dobbs' play because the Phillies won. Barajas echoed the sentiment. "It would have been disappointing if we lost, but the fact that we were able to pull it out, we can look back and laugh at some of these plays," Barajas said. With Myers sitting 10 feet behind him, Dobbs still wasn't feeling victorious, and lamented the potential high price of his mental lapse. "I still can't grasp what I did," he said. "It might be the stupidest play in the history of baseball. I feel tremendously responsible for that inning. There's no way that should happen. It was unforgivable. I'm praying to God that Brett is going to be OK. I'm praying that I didn't aid in him being out for an extended amount of time. I haven't talked to him yet, because I'm sick to my stomach. I want to eat, but I can't." Dobbs will likely eat at some point, though he'll have trouble digesting it all.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.