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Washington at Philadelphia

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Washington (73-89)000100000160
Philadelphia (89-73) «10200210x671

Gutsy play, Mets meltdown help Phillies get back to playoffs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino doused the fans with a fire hose, Brett Myers and Ryan Howard jumped into the stands to join the celebration and Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas sang High Hopes over the public address system.

Believe it, Philly. The Fightin' Phils are going to the playoffs -- - just as Jimmy Rollins predicted way back in January.

Considered all-but-out of contention just 2½ weeks ago, the Philadelphia Phillies overcame a huge deficit in the standings, caught the Mets and won their first NL East title since 1993 on the final day.

"There's only one more celebration to try and go for now and that's the whole thing," Howard said.

Howard hit his 47th homer, 44-year-old Jamie Moyer pitched 5 1/3 gutsy innings and the Phillies, backed by a crowd going crazy, beat Washington 6-1 Sunday to end a 14-year playoff drought.

Myers tossed his glove underhanded straight in the air and jumped off the mound after striking out Wily Mo Pena to end it. Pat Burrell ran out of the dugout and hugged Myers and everyone piled on.

The party was on, and it lasted for hours right there on the field, thousands of fans staying to enjoy a rare moment in Philly.

"This has been an incredible ride and we've got to keep going," Burrell said.

The Phillies also needed help up I-95, and received it from Florida. The Marlins beat the Mets 8-1 to ensure there wouldn't be a tiebreaker playoff game on Monday.

Philadelphia rallied from seven games down on Sept. 12, matching the biggest September comeback in major league history. The Phillies and the Mets went into the last day tied for the division lead.

Now, it's the Phillies who are advancing to the postseason for only the 10th time in their history. They'll host Game 1 of the first round Wednesday against the winner of Monday's wild-card tiebreaker between San Diego and Colorado.

Somehow it seemed fitting the Phillies enjoyed success the same season they became the first team in professional sports to lose 10,000 games.

A team known for one of the biggest collapses in baseball -- they blew a 6½-game lead with 12 games left in the 1964 NL race -- took advantage of a colossal fold to finish first. The Phils won 13 of their last 17 and wound up 89-73.

The Phillies' long-suffering fans are quite familiar with heartbreak and failure. One World Series championship (1980) in 125 years makes for plenty of disappointing finishes, especially in recent seasons.

In 2005, the Phillies were eliminated on the final day. Last year, they were knocked out on the next-to-last day of the season.

Finally, the die-hards have reason to celebrate.

Guided by heavily criticized manager Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia overcame a 4-11 start and numerous injuries to key players. Yet even in mid-September, the comeback kids -- they rallied for 48 come-from-behind wins this season -- never gave up.

"No matter what the stakes are, we're never going to quit," center fielder Aaron Rowand said.

Many players admitted they shifted their focus to the wild-card race. Once the Mets started free-falling, helped by Philadelphia's three-game sweep at Shea Stadium on Sept. 14-16, winning the division became a possibility.

No major league team failed to finish first after having at least a seven-game lead with 17 to play. The Phillies joined the 1934 Cardinals and 1938 Cubs as the only teams to overcome a seven-game deficits in the final month.

"The Mets just hit a bad streak, and we were able to take advantage," general manager Pat Gillick said.

The Phillies hadn't spent a day in first place until tying the Mets on Thursday night. They moved into sole possession of first Friday, but gave it right back with a loss on Saturday.

Before they took the field against the Nationals, the Phillies looked up at the out-of-town scoreboard and saw the Mets were trailing 7-0. And, you didn't have to be inside the ballpark to know that score.

When the Marlins scored their fourth run in a seven-run first inning, one tailgater leaped high in the air off the back of his flatbed pickup, landing feet-first on a plastic Mets helmet, crushing it into tiny pieces. His buddies circled around and mocked New York fans with a chant of "Jo-se, Jose, Jose, Jose, Jo-se, Jo-se!"

Jose Reyes isn't going to the playoffs, but Jimmy Rollins is on his way. Rollins took heat for boldly predicting last winter that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East.

Rollins backed up his words with an MVP-caliber season, and added one more highlight to a sensational year with an RBI triple in the sixth.

"I'm no prophet, just a baseball player," Rollins said.

With the crowd emphatically chanting "M-V-P!" during Rollins' at-bat, he lined his 20th triple into the right-field corner to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead.

Rollins became the fourth player in major league history to have 20 doubles, triples, homers and steals in the same season. Detroit's Curtis Granderson did it earlier this year.

Sensing something special, the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park never chanted "E-A-G-L-E-S!" Sunday or during the six-game homestand.

Not since the days of the Dude and Wild Thing -- Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams -- has a Phillies team captured the hearts of a city starved for a championship. The NBA's 76ers were the last to win a title in 1983.

And leave it to a native son to deliver at a crucial time. While fellow 40-something Tom Glavine struggled for the Mets, Moyer (14-12) was sharp. Moyer grew up in nearby Souderton and played hooky from school to attend the Phillies' victory parade on Broad Street in 1980.

The crafty left-hander allowed one unearned run and five hits, striking out six. He baffled hitters with a typical mix of offspeed pitches and barely 80-mph fastball.

"I'd like to be going down Broad Street again on one of those floats instead of watching the floats go by," Moyer said.

Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero and Myers finished it off with 3 2/3 scoreless innings.

Rollins singled leading off the bottom of the first against Jason Bergmann (6-6). He stole second and third and scored on Chase Utley's sacrifice fly to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

In the third, Howard made it 3-0 with a two-out, two-run single. His solo shot in the seventh capped the scoring.

Notes

  • The Nationals swept a three-game series in New York earlier this week to help the Phillies catch the Mets.
  • Phillies C Carlos Ruiz left with a bruised left elbow an inning after getting hit by a pitch.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Brett Myers finishes off the final out as the Phillies clinch their first division title since '93.  (AP)
Brett Myers finishes off the final out as the Phillies clinch their first division title since '93. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

R. Howard
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Philadelphia

J. Rollins
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez, SS4010001 .245
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4120001 .290
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000033 .266
Dmitri Young, 1B4010011 .320
Austin Kearns, RF4011001 .266
Wily Mo Pena, LF4000041 .253
Jesus Flores, C2000110 .244
Justin Maxwell, CF3000021 .269
Jason Bergmann, P1000000 .135
    Jonathan Albaladejo, P0000000 .000
   a- Nook Logan, PH1010000 .265
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
   b- Tony Batista, PH1000001 .257
    Mike Bacsik Jr., P0000000 .103
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
Totals32161111  
a-singled for Albaladejo in the 5th
b-flied out for Ayala in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ronnie Belliard (35, Moyer)
RBI - Austin Kearns (74)
2-OUT RBI - Austin Kearns (38)
Team LOB - 5
Washington Nationals
Jason Bergmann (L,6-6) 3333120 4.45
Jonathan Albaladejo 1000000 1.88
Saul Rivera 1.1222100 3.68
Luis Ayala 0.2100000 3.19
Mike Bacsik Jr. 0.1111001 5.11
Jesus Colome 1.2000010 3.82
HBP - Victorino (by Jason Bergmann), Ruiz (by Jonathan Albaladejo), Coste (by Saul Rivera)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Bergmann 64-38, Jonathan Albaladejo 16-10, Saul Rivera 24-13, Luis Ayala 12-8, Mike Bacsik Jr. 10-6, Jesus Colome 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Bergmann 3-4, Jonathan Albaladejo 1-2, Saul Rivera 3-1, Luis Ayala 1-1, Jesus Colome 2-2
Batters Faced - Jason Bergmann 14, Jonathan Albaladejo 4, Saul Rivera 8, Luis Ayala 3, Mike Bacsik Jr. 2, Jesus Colome 5
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS3221100 .296
Shane Victorino, RF3000002 .281
Chase Utley, 2B3011003 .332
Ryan Howard, 1B4133010 .268
Aaron Rowand, CF4000004 .309
Pat Burrell, LF2000100 .256
    Michael Bourn, PR-LF1100000 .277
Greg Dobbs, 3B2000000 .272
    Chris Coste, C1100000 .279
Carlos Ruiz, C1110000 .259
    Abraham Nunez, 3B1000000 .234
Jamie Moyer, P2000012 .123
    Tom Gordon, P0000000 .000
   a- Tadahito Iguchi, PH0001000 .267
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH1000010 .246
    Brett Myers, P0000000 .000
Totals2867623  
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Gordon in the 6th
b-struck out for Romero in the 8th
Batting
2B - Carlos Ruiz (29, Bergmann)
3B - Jimmy Rollins (20, Ayala)
HR - Ryan Howard (47, Bacsik)
SF - Chase Utley (7), Tadahito Iguchi (6)
SH - Abraham Nunez (4)
RBI - Jimmy Rollins (94), Chase Utley (103), Ryan Howard 3 (136), Tadahito Iguchi (43)
2-OUT RBI - Jimmy Rollins (37), Ryan Howard 2 (62)
SB - Jimmy Rollins 2 (41, 2nd base off Bergmann/Flores, 3rd base off Bergmann/Flores)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Utley-Howard, Utley-Rollins-Howard
E - Greg Dobbs (8, Throwing)
Philadelphia Phillies
Jamie Moyer (W,14-12) 5.1510060 5.01
Tom Gordon (H,14) 0.2000000 4.73
J.C. Romero 2100130 1.92
Brett Myers 1000020 4.33
Pitches-Strikes - Jamie Moyer 97-61, Tom Gordon 4-2, J.C. Romero 32-18, Brett Myers 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jamie Moyer 7-4, Tom Gordon 1-0, J.C. Romero 1-1
Batters Faced - Jamie Moyer 22, Tom Gordon 1, J.C. Romero 7, Brett Myers 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44865
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman