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Phillies' comeback falls two runs short

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Armando Benitez really had to work for this
save.

Not only were the bases loaded with one out in the eighth inning
when Marlins manager Jack McKeon called on his closer, but Benitez
had to face Jason Michaels with a 3-1 count.

"I told him, 'I put you in tough spot, but you're the only one
I know can do it," McKeon said.

Did he ever. Benitez struck out Michaels and bailed the Marlins
out to save Florida's 10-8 win Thursday over the Philadelphia
Phillies.

"I have to come in right away with my best stuff," said
Benitez, who then got Mike Lieberthal to fly out on the first
pitch. "Everybody knows what I can do and I did it."

Alex Gonzalez and Jeff Conine each hit three-run homers, and
Mike Redmond added a solo shot, helping Florida move within two
games of the Phillies and Atlanta for the NL East lead.

The Phillies, who blew a slim wild-card lead over World Series
champion Florida down the stretch last season, snapped a nine-game
losing streak against the Marlins on Wednesday dating to September.

The Marlins are still 7-1 against the Phillies this year.

Carl Pavano (10-4) and the Marlins looked ready to start another
streak after scoring four runs in the fourth inning and five more
in the fifth. Then Chase Utley nearly rallied the Phillies to their
31st come-from-behind win.

With the Phillies trailing 10-4, Utley hit a two-run, pinch-hit
homer in the sixth. He added a two-out, two-run double in the
seventh that made it 10-8.

Utley also singled in the ninth, and his four RBI matched a
career high.

No one else came close to touching Benitez.

Down by two runs, the Phillies loaded the bases against Billy
Koch in the eighth on a walk to Bobby Abreu, a single by Jim Thome
and a one-out walk to Pat Burrell.

When the count went to 3-1 on Michaels, McKeon took out Koch and
brought in Benitez.

After Benitez got two quick outs, the sellout crowd that just
moments earlier was going wild was quickly silenced.

"I have a tremendous amount of faith and trust that he could do
that," McKeon said.

Benitez then worked the ninth for his 33rd save in 36 chances.
Eighteen of his 20 pitches were strikes.

Florida's Juan Pierre never doubted Benitez.

"It's a tough situation for him to come in to, but he's done
that before and he always gets us out," said Pierre, who went
3-for-5. "I've never seen anything like that -- a guy to come in
and look so determined."

The Phillies could use a few more pitchers with that look.

Randy Wolf (4-6) failed to go deep in the game for the fifth
time in his last six starts. He gave up eight hits and six earned
runs in four innings and was booed when he was pulled after
pitching to two batters in the fifth.

"Eight hits in four innings is not a good sign," manager Larry
Bowa said, shaking his head. "He said he's all right."

Wolf added: "I need to make better pitches and I'm not doing
that right now."

The Phillies led 2-0 when the Marlins broke it open in the
fourth.

Mike Lowell and Miguel Cabrera opened the fourth with singles
and Conine hit his seventh homer of the season. With two outs,
Redmond ended an 0-for-22 slump with his second home run.

Wolf again gave up two straight singles to start the fifth
before he was yanked. Geoff Geary relieved and promptly allowed a
first-pitch, RBI double to Lowell.

After an out and an intentional walk, Conine hit a sacrifice fly
for a 6-2 lead. Conine had four RBI. Gonzalez followed with a
three-run shot for his 14th homer of the year.

Pavano had two no-decisions this year against the Phillies and
breezed through the first five innings until running into trouble
in the sixth. He gave up a solo homer to Burrell and the homer to
Utley that made it 10-6.

Game notes
Conine has 12 career home runs against the Phillies. ...
Both of Redmond's home runs have been in Philadelphia. ... Pavano
improved to 6-1 on the road. ... Utley has two pinch-hit homers
this year. Utley's homer came in his first at-bat of the season
against the Marlins. ... Marlins CF Pierre was credited with a
diving catch in the eighth, though a replay showed the ball hit the
ground first. ... The Phillies have 28 sellouts in 50 games. ...
Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins was 4-for-5.