PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 26: Right fielder Jayson Werth #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies misplays a base hit during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on September 26 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Phillies Lose, Clinch Playoff Spot, Shrink Magic Number For NL East To One

The Phillies lose their second straight game, but lowered their magic number back to one after the Braves loss against Washington this afternoon.

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Phils Can't Capitalize on Braves Loss, Fall 7-3 to Mets

Disappointing game.

Cole Hamels didn’t have it today for the first time in a month, giving up five runs in only four innings of work. Too many walks, too many home runs, and too many balls found holes as the Mets got to him early and often. Bombs provided by Carlos Beltran and David Wright in what was not announced as Back-To-2006 Day at the ballpark. Vance Worley, Chad Durbin, David Herndon and Jose Contreras came on for four scoreless frames of relief to keep them in it.

On the flip side, the Phils had dozens of opportunities to cash in on baserunners, but a three-run home run by Chase Utley (his 16th) would prove to be the only offense. Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino looked especially poor today — hopefully they can shake it off and stay hot heading into the playoffs. Jimmy Rollins got a chance to bat in the 8th inning with a man on second. He showed everybody he’s back to his old self, swinging first-pitch and chopping out to first to end the inning.

In a display of poor managing, Charlie Manuel opted for Ryan Madson in the 9th inning down two runs, his fifth appearance in eight days. Ryan, who has been the best reliever in the league over the past two months, let up an opposite field flare then a jack to Carlos Beltran. After a walk, Madson was pulled in favor of Danys Baez, failing to record an out. No reason for him to be in the game in the first place, Charlie.

Thankfully, Livan Hernandez and the Nationals disposed of the Braves 4-2, cutting the magic number to just one with six games remaining in the season. Roy Halladay starts the series tomorrow in Washington with a chance to seal it. With a Phillies win or Braves loss, the Phillies will clinch the division. Atlanta welcomes Florida to town, thinking wild card.

Let’s end this already.

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