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Myers' stellar effort spoiled by loss

Myers' stellar effort spoiled by loss

PHILADELPHIA -- Yes, Chase Utley, who was riding a 27-game hitting streak, got a hit. However, most of the Phillies couldn't say the same.

The Phils' offense was shut down by Ricky Nolasco and a pair of relievers as the Marlins took down the Phillies, 4-1, on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Nolasco held Philadelphia hitless through 6 2/3 innings until Abraham Nunez singled off Nolasco's glove to break up the no-hitter. Florida's rookie righty left in the eighth, having allowed just one hit.

"We didn't hit very many balls hard against him," manager Charlie Manuel said.

Nolasco's performance spoiled another sterling effort from Brett Myers, who has been outstanding since his return from the leave of absence that followed his domestic abuse arrest. Myers went eight innings for the second start in a row, allowing one run on five hits and a walk, striking out eight.

Myers' lone trouble spot came in the seventh, when Miguel Cabrera and Mike Jacobs hit back-to-back doubles to center field on the first two pitches of the inning.

"Nothing I could have done," Myers said. Nolasco "was Cy Young tonight."

Ryan Howard hit a towering shot in the bottom of the ninth for his 33rd of the season, tying him with St. Louis' Albert Pujols for the National League lead. The 447-foot blast might have been meaningful were it not for a rough top of the ninth for relievers Geoff Geary and Aaron Fultz. The duo gave up three runs on three hits and two walks as the Marlins built a 4-0 lead.

"We try to run some kind of matchup deal right now," Manuel said of his selection of relievers. "But it didn't work out."

The bullpen's letdown does not take away from what Myers has done. The right-hander has pitched 23 innings in his three starts since coming back and has allowed six runs. But he's lost his last two outings with only one run of support each time.

"Myers pitched a great game again," Nunez said. "We just weren't able to score any runs."

Nolasco got the better of him on this night, beginning the game by going after hitters with fastballs and then working in the breaking stuff. The 23-year-old rookie improved to 9-6 on the season.

"He was very aggressive," Manuel said. "He was coming right at us."

Even the red-hot Utley couldn't get anything going against him, although he didn't get much of a chance. Utley popped out in his first at-bat and then was hit in nearly the identical spot on his shoulder where Arizona's Claudio Vargas hit him the previous day. Utley walked in his third at-bat, leaving him just one more plate appearance.

Luckily for him, the Marlins brought in the lefty to face him. Utley, who came in hitting .345 against left-handed pitching, singled to center field to extend his hitting streak to 28 games -- half of Joe DiMaggio's record 56.

Nolasco, on the other hand, had his shot at history denied by inches.

The 6-foot-2 hurler needed to be about 6-4. Nunez's chopper glanced off the top of his outstretched glove and rolled to second baseman Dan Uggla, who had no play.

After the game, Nunez said the only thing one really could say.

"It doesn't mean anything now," Nunez said of breaking up the no-hitter. "It would have been a lot better if we had won the game."

Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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