|The Astros scored four runs in the seventh inning to top the Phillies. (Getty Images)|
With Sunday's 7-6 loss in Houston, the Phillies have been eliminated from the National League East title race, officially ending their five-year run atop the division and perhaps the most successful run in team history.
The Phillies will be four games out of the second wild card behind the winner of the Dodgers-Cardinals game, and behind not only the loser of that game, but also the Pirates and Brewers. The Phillies, who had gotten into the thick of the wild card race, dropped three of four in Houston, which may have killed their playoff hopes. But if last season taught us nothing, it's never give up on the playoffs as long as you're still mathematically alive.
But they are no longer mathematically alive for the division title, 17 games behind the Nationals before Sunday's game. Philadelphia has won the division title each year since 2007, winning a World Series title and two National League pennants in that stretch. In no other tim in the team's history had it been to the playoffs in five straight years, before this run, the longest streak of division titles by a Phillies team was three from 1976-78 -- and that run was the first time the team had made it to the postseason in consecutive seasons. Before 1976, the team had made the playoffs just twice, in 1915 and 1950.
With Sunday's loss, the Phillies again have a losing record at 73-74. Philadelphia had won seven in a row (and 11 of 13) before going to Houston to improve to a game over .500. Before beating the Marlins on Sept. 12 to improve to 72-71, the Phillies hadn't been better than .500 since June 3, when they were 28-27.