Vet History Ends With 5-2 Loss To Atlanta

The Phillies opened Veterans Stadium with a 4-2 win over Montreal in 1971. Unfortunately, they were on the wrong end of a 5-2 game to close the book on the history of Veterans Stadium. Kevin Millwood was pounded by his former - and possibly future - teammates as he finished the season at 14-12 for the Phillies.

The Philadelphia Phillies were unable to send the Veterans Stadium faithful home happy one final time. Robert Fick drove in two runs and the Atlanta Braves chased former teammate Kevin Millwood en route to a 5-2 victory over the Phillies in the final game in the 33-year history of the ballpark.

The win secured home-field advantage throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs for the Braves.

Eliminated from postseason contention earlier in the week, the Phillies looked to close out the final series at the Vet on a winning note. Millwood (14-12), who was acquired from Atlanta last winter to be the ace of a young pitching staff, continued to disappoint.

Entering the game with an 0-3 mark against his former club, Millwood surrendered five runs and 11 hits in four-plus innings. Millwood walked one and struck out three and can become a free agent in November and is believed to be looking to go elsewhere.

Millwood addressed his chances of returning to Philadelphia after the game. "It's definitely a possibility," he said. "I'm going to go home, relax, get away and see what happens."

After being relieved in the fifth, Millwood left the field to a chorus of boos. Before reaching the dugout, he tossed his glove and cap into the stands. "I'm clarifying one thing about the glove and the hat. I was going to do that anyway, booing or cheering, just to give something back," Millwood said. "One fan gets the glove and one a hat."

The rabid Philadelphia fans did show their appreciation for the Phillies' other key offseason acquisition. First baseman Jim Thome, who entered the day tied with Texas' Alex Rodriguez for the major league lead in home runs with 47 and who already had established a career high with 131 RBI in his first season in the National League, received a standing ovation stepping to the plate in the eighth.

"I had a blast," Thome said. "I didn't know what to expect. A lot of guys really helped me."

Bowa also paid respect to Thome for a remarkable season, sending the slugger onto the field to start the ninth before replacing him in order for the crowd to show their appreciation one last time. "It was very special," Thome said. "It was very nice for a guy playing in his first year here. I was honored."

Fick drove in Atlanta's first run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning and capped the scoring with an RBI double in the fifth. Rafael Furcal, Gary Sheffield and Jesse Garcia also plated runs for the Braves, who begin their NL Division Series on Tuesday when they host the Chicago Cubs.

Maddux (16-11) got the win, allowing two runs and four hits in five innings. The four-time Cy Young Award winner, who struck out two without a walk, finished with a 13-8 record at Veterans Stadium.

Jason Marquis worked around a hit in the ninth for his first career save.

Phillies legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas had the honor of removing the final number on the "Vet Countdown" on the right field wall. Kalas pulled down the "No. 1", which ironically was the uniform number of the late Phillie great Richie Ashburn, and blew a kiss to the sky to acknowledge his long-time broadcasting partner.

Rookie Marlon Byrd generated a run in the first inning to give the Phillies the lead. After leading off with a single, he stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Jimmy Rollins and scored on Bobby Abreu's grounder.

Atlanta evened the game in the second on Fick's sacrifice fly, but Abreu's RBI single in the third put Philadelphia back on top, 2-1.

Javy Lopez, who set the single-season homer record for a catcher Saturday, ignited a three-run rally in the fourth, leading off with a double. Fick and Garcia followed with singles to knot the contest and, after a sacrifice by Maddux, Furcal lifted a sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. Marcus Giles walked and Sheffield stroked an RBI single to cap the inning.

Fick plated Chipper Jones with a double in the fifth to complete the scoring.


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