Countdown to the Playoffs, Game # 1: The Phils end the regular season on a losing note as they fail to catch the Braves late, 8-7.

A late rally comes too late as the Phils lose the final game of the regular series to the Braves, 8-7. They will begin the NL Divisional playoffs facing the National League Central Division Champs, the Cincinnati Reds this coming Wednesday at Philadelphia.

The Phils took a 2-0 lead in the third as, with one man on, and with one man out, pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr. hits a two-run home run, his second home run of the season, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who had earlier been hit by the pitch. The Braves got a run back in their half of the third as, with one man on, and with two men out, Jason Heyward hits an RBI triple, knocking in Rick Ankiel, who had earlier singled, then went to second on Tim Hudson’s sacrifice bunt, 3-4, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 2-1. The Braves tied it up at two-all in the fourth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Brooks Conrad hits an RBI single, knocking in Matt Diaz, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second on Alex Gonzalez’s single, while sending Gonzalez, who had just singled, over to third base. Two batters later, with runners still on the corners, and now with two men out, Hudson hits an RBI single, scoring Gonzalez, giving the Braves a 3-2 lead, while sending Conrad up to second base. The Braves then took a 5-2 lead as Omar Infante hits an RBI triple, knocking in both Conrad and Hudson. The Braves added to their lead in the sixth as Derrek Lee hits a lead-off home run, his nineteenth home run of the year, giving the Braves a 6-2 lead. Four batters later, with two men on, and with one man out, Conrad hits an RBI single, scoring Brian McCann, who had earlier singled, moved up to second on Diaz’s single, then went to third on Gonzalez’s ground out, 5-3, giving the Braves a 7-2 lead, before Diaz, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second on Gonzalez’s ground out, is thrown out at home plate by a throw to home by Ryan Howard, after Jayson Werth’s throw into the infield gets pass him, with Brian Schneider applying the tag, 9-3-2, for the second out of the inning, while Conrad would go to second on the play. The Braves then made it an 8-2 lead in the sixth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Diaz hits an RBI single, scoring Heyward, who had earlier walked, and was safe at second on a 5-3 doubleplay on a grounder by Lee, as Infante, who had earlier singled, and had gone to second on Heyward’s walk, was wiped out at third base, while McCann, who had just walked, moved up to second base. The Phils made it an 8-4 Braves’ lead in the seventh as, with one man on, and with one man out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his twenty-seventh home run of the year, scoring Howard, who had just walked. The Phils then cut the Braves’ lead further in the eighth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI single, knocking in Brian Bocock, who was pinch running for Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled, then went to third on Braves third baseman Omar Infante’s throwing error of pinch hitter Mike Sweeney’s grounder, making it an 8-5 Braves’ lead, while sending Sweeney, who was safe on Infante’s error, up to second base. The Phils then cut the Braves’ lead down to 8-7 as pinch hitter Ben Francisco hits a two-run double, scoring both Sweeney and Valdez. That would end up being the final score as Billy Wagner would record his thirty-seventh save of the year by recording a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Greg Dobbs, looking.

Cole Hamels pitches two scoreless innings, walking a batter, while striking out two. Roy Oswalt pitches an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out a batter. Danys Baez took the lost as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up four runs on five hits, while striking out one. His record is now 3-4 with a 5.48 ERA. Mike Zagurski pitches a third of an inning, striking out the only man that he would face. Joe Blanton pitches an inning, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk. J.C. Romero pitches two-thirds of an inning, before leaving the game because of a bad back, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Chad Durbin pitches an inning and a third, giving up a hit and two walks, as he strikes out a batter. Brad Lidge pitches an inning, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out a batter. Tim Hudson gets the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up four runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter, while he strikes out three. His record is now 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA. Jonny Venters pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two unearned runs on a hit, while striking out a batter. Billy Wagner records his thirty-seventh save of the season as he pitches an inning and a third, giving up a run on two hits and a walk, while striking out four.

The Phils had only five hits in the game, a single by Jimmy Rollins, a single by Wilson Valdez, knocking in a run, a two-run home run by Jayson Werth, a two-run pinch hit home run by John Mayberry, Jr. and a two-run pinch hit double by Ben Francisco. The Phils’ offense was otherwise kept quiet yesterday.

The Phils, at 97-65, ended the season with the best record in the majors, doing so for the first time in the team’s 128-years history. They will begin the divisional series at home this coming Wednesday, facing the Cincinnati Red, the Central Division champs, looking for some revenge for 1976, when they were swept in a three game series for the NL Championship.

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