Major League Baseball
Oswalt leaves game with back strain
Major League Baseball

Oswalt leaves game with back strain

Published Apr. 15, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

There was no fist-pumping, jubilant high-fiving or any display of excitement. If Greg Dobbs felt any extra satisfaction for beating his former team, he kept it to himself.

Dobbs delivered a pinch-hit, go-ahead two-run single against and the Florida Marlins rallied to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Friday night.

''It feels good regardless of who you're playing against,'' Dobbs said.

Dobbs spent the previous four seasons in Philadelphia. He batted .301 and was a key player off the bench for the World Series championship team in 2008.


But he got an earful of boos when he came to the plate from fans who mostly remember his .196 batting average last year.

''I heard a couple boos and a couple of cheers,'' Dobbs said. ''I came in here to do my job and help the team.''

It may have been a costly loss for the NL East-leading Phillies because Roy Oswalt left with a back strain. Oswalt pitched six impressive innings before getting hurt. He allowed two runs and four hits, striking out six. He didn't allow a hit until Logan Morrison led off the fifth with a home run into Philadelphia's bullpen.

The team initially said Oswalt strained his lower back. But Oswalt said the pain was in the middle. The three-time All-Star hopes to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday.

''It's not to the point where it's unbearable,'' Oswalt said. ''It's a muscle spasm.''

Five Marlins relievers combined for four scoreless innings after starter Javier Vazquez struggled through five. Edward Mujica (2-1) worked the sixth. Ryan Webb pitched a perfect seventh, Randy Choate snared a line drive against the only batter he faced and Clay Hensley got the two he faced out. Leo Nunez finished for his fifth save in as many tries.

Vazquez allowed three runs and five hits. He walked four and had to pitch out of the stretch most of the night with runners on base.

''Javier struggled with his location, but he battled and kept us in the game,'' Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. ''Then the bullpen finished it off.''

Oswalt felt something in his back in the fifth. It tightened up even more when he ran to first after putting down a bunt in the bottom of the sixth. He stayed in and ran the bases, but came out after trying his warmup pitches.

A well-rested bullpen that hadn't been used the previous two games couldn't hold the lead.

J.C. Romero allowed an infield single to Morrison. Danys Baez (1-1) relieved and walked Gaby Sanchez. John Buck followed with a soft single to center to load the bases. After Donnie Murphy popped out to second, Dobbs lined a two-run single to left to put the Marlins ahead 4-3.

''I just keep the same routine,'' Dobbs said. ''Just stay steady, not too high, not too low.''

The Phillies' bullpen was fresh because Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee pitched consecutive complete games. Lee tossed a 12-strikeout, three-hit shutout against Washington on Thursday. Halladay took a shutout into the ninth and went the distance in a 3-2 win a night earlier.

For a while, it seemed Oswalt would make it three in a row. Wearing short sleeves on a chilly night, Oswalt baffled hitters with a sharp fastball and deceptive offspeed pitches. He retired the first 11 batters before Hanley Ramirez walked in the fourth.

The Phillies jumped ahead with two runs in the first. Shane Victorino walked to start the inning and Jimmy Rollins lined a one-out double to right. Ryan Howard drove in the first run with a deep sacrifice fly. Raul Ibanez singled in Rollins to make it 2-0.

After Morrison's shot cut it to 2-1, the Phillies regained their two-run cushion in the bottom half. Victorino walked and Polanco singled. After Rollins flied out and Howard lined out, Ibanez hit an RBI single for a 3-1 lead.

But the Marlins answered in the sixth. Chris Coghlan and Omar Infante hit consecutive one-out doubles to get Florida within 3-2. Oswalt then retired Ramirez on a grounder to second and got Mike Stanton to foul out to leave the tying on third.

Stanton, the promising sophomore cleanup hitter, was no match for the veteran right-hander. Oswalt got him to swing and miss at a nasty 72 mph curve. He then busted him inside with a 92 mph fastball that Stanton popped up to catcher Carlos Ruiz.

A crowd of 45,667 on Jackie Robinson Night was the second-largest in the regular season in the eight-year history of Citizens Bank Park. It was the 143rd consecutive sellout, including postseason.

Notes: The Phillies have won 15 of their last 16 series and six straight since last season. ... Vazquez is 12-8 against the Phillies. The 12 wins are his most against any team. ... All four of Morrison's homers this season have come against right-handers. ... Dobbs is 3 for 6 with four RBIs as a pinch hitter. ... Victorino made a diving catch to rob Sanchez of a hit leading off the ninth. ... Murphy left with a left knee contusion after fouling the ball off his leg in the ninth. Wes Helms finished the at-bat and struck out.


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