|Philadelphia (89-73) «||1||0||2||0||0||2||1||0||x||6||7||1|
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
|Brett Myers finishes off the final out as the Phillies clinch their first division title since '93. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Philadelphia Phillies Celebration
$129.95 Shop Now!
|Felipe Lopez, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.245|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.290|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.266|
|Dmitri Young, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.320|
|Austin Kearns, RF||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.266|
|Wily Mo Pena, LF||4||0||0||0||0||4||1||.253|
|Jesus Flores, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.244|
|Justin Maxwell, CF||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.269|
|Jason Bergmann, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.135|
|Jonathan Albaladejo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Nook Logan, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.265|
|Saul Rivera, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Luis Ayala, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Tony Batista, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.257|
|Mike Bacsik Jr., P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.103|
|Jesus Colome, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Albaladejo in the 5th|
|b-flied out for Ayala in the 7th|
|2B - Ronnie Belliard (35, Moyer)|
|RBI - Austin Kearns (74)|
|2-OUT RBI - Austin Kearns (38)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Jason Bergmann (L,6-6)||3||3||3||3||1||2||0||4.45|
|Mike Bacsik Jr.||0.1||1||1||1||0||0||1||5.11|
|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|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||3||2||2||1||1||0||0||.296|
|Shane Victorino, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.281|
|Chase Utley, 2B||3||0||1||1||0||0||3||.332|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||4||1||3||3||0||1||0||.268|
|Aaron Rowand, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.309|
|Pat Burrell, LF||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.256|
|Michael Bourn, PR-LF||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||.277|
|Greg Dobbs, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.272|
|Chris Coste, C||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||.279|
|Carlos Ruiz, C||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.259|
|Abraham Nunez, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.234|
|Jamie Moyer, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.123|
|Tom Gordon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Tadahito Iguchi, PH||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||.267|
|J.C. Romero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Wes Helms, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.246|
|Brett Myers, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-hit a sacrifice fly for Gordon in the 6th|
|b-struck out for Romero in the 8th|
|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|
|DP - Utley-Howard, Utley-Rollins-Howard|
|E - Greg Dobbs (8, Throwing)|
|Jamie Moyer (W,14-12)||5.1||5||1||0||0||6||0||5.01|
|Tom Gordon (H,14)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.73|
|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|
|Attendance - 44865|
|Game Time - 2:58|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman|