We're Out!; Phillies Swept From Playoff Picture

A week ago, the Phillies playoff hopes were alive and well. Now, they're ready for a proper burial right along side Veterans Stadium. The Phillies limp home from Florida for a final series at Veterans Stadium, meaningful only in that it's the final three games that the Phillies will play at the old homestead.

The pitching mound at Pro Player Stadium gave Brad Penny more trouble than the Philadelphia Phillies' lineup.

Penny overcame difficulty with a wet mound to limit the Phillies to five hits in seven innings and Juan Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs as the Florida Marlins clinched at least a tie for the National League wild card with an 8-4 victory.

After the start of the game was delayed 18 minutes by rain, Penny (14-10) was ready to go and worked a 1-1 count to Marlon Byrd before complaining about the condition of the mound. As the grounds crew attended to the problem, Florida manager Jack McKeon and his Phillies counterpart, Larry Bowa, argued with the umpires regarding the steady rainfall.

Once Penny was pleased with the mound, he made life miserable for the Phillies. He retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before giving up a run and two hits in the third, giving Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

The Marlins plated four runs in the bottom of the third to move ahead, and Penny settled down, allowing a run and three hits over the next four innings before serving up Jim Thome's 45th homer in the eighth.

Penny improved to 3-0 against the Phillies this season, yielding four runs and seven hits in eight innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out five.

Encarnacion capped Florida's four-run third with a three-run blast, his 19th of the season, before adding an RBI single in the sixth.

Phillies starter Randy Wolf (16-10) suffered his first loss since August 25, surrendering four runs and seven hits in just four innings. Wolf walked three and struck out three while falling to 2-9 lifetime against the Marlins.

Wolf helped himself in the third, belting a one-out double and scoring on Placido Polanco's infield single to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead before the Marlins erupted for four runs in the bottom of the inning to move into the driver's seat.

Juan Pierre singled with one out and moved to third on Derrek Lee's two-out base hit. Rookie Miguel Cabrera plated Pierre with a single before Encarnacion deposited a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall, giving the Marlins a 4-1 advantage.

Alex Gonzalez gave Florida a four-run lead with a two-out double in the fifth, but Jimmy Rolins' two-out RBI single in the sixth drew the Phillies within 5-2.

Jose Mesa demonstrated why he lost the Phillies' closer job, allowing three runs in the bottom of the sixth to break open the game. Luis Castillo was hit by a pitch, Pierre reached on a bunt single and both runners advanced on Mesa's throwing error. Pierre's hit was his 200th of the season, a first in Marlins history. After Ivan Rodriguez grounded out, Lee was walked intentionally to load the bases. Cabrera popped out, but Encarnacion legged out a grounder for a base hit, scoring Castillo. Jeff Conine followed with a two-run single, increasing Florida's lead to 8-2.

Thome halved Philadelphia's deficit with a two-run homer in the eighth, but Rick Helling mowed the Phillies down in order in the ninth.

The Phillies now return home for a three game series with the Braves to close out the history of Veterans Stadium. Vicente Padilla (14-11, 3.57) will start Friday's series opener against Horacio Ramirez (11-4, 4.13).

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