Phils Get Trumped in Wild Card Race

The Phillies knew they were in a tough spot, but the Baseball Gods made them play out the string only to come up short. For a brief time, the Cubs looked like they would be getting a thank you card from the Phillies, but in the end, Houston came back for a 6-4 win to clinch the wild card race.

The Phillies knew they had to sweep the Nationals this weekend to have any hope of heading into the post-season. They did their part, but the Cubs would have needed to win one more game than they did in Houston to help the Phillies.

Jon Lieber (17-13) threw seven strong innings and Billy Wagner notched his 38th save of the year in the Phillies 9-3 win over the Nationals.

The game was just 5-3 when Wagner came on to get the last out of the eighth inning, striking out pinch-hitter Marlon Byrd. The Phillies put four runs on the board in the top of the ninth, to make things a little easier for Wagner when the bottom of the inning rolled around.

Chase Utley doubled and scored on a double by Bobby Abreu with nobody out in the ninth. After Pat Burrell walked, Ryan Howard singled to right to score Abreu and make it a 7-3 game. David Bell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Todd Pratt and Wagner both struck out, but Jimmy Rollins was hit by a pitch to force another run across. Rollins singled earlier in the game to push hit hitting streak to 36 games to finish the season. An infield single by Kenny Lofton finished the scoring.

Lofton finished the day 2-for-6 with three RBI and Rollins picked up two hits and two RBI on the afternoon.

The Phillies jumped on starter Hector Carrasco (5-4) for four runs over five innings. Carrasco hadn't allowed an earned run in 17 2/3 innings coming into the game and extended that streak to 21 1/3 innings before Abreu's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning gave the Phillies a 1-0 edge.

In Houston, the Astros jumped out to an early lead, only to have the Cubs come back to take a 4-3 advantage in the sixth. In the bottom of the inning, Jason Lane led off with his 26th homerun of the season to tie the game and an error by Neifi Perez gave Houston the go-ahead run. The Astros got an insurance run on a wild pitch later in the inning. Houston's comeback put them in as the National League Wild Card and made Roy Oswalt a 20 game winner on the season.

The Phillies finished the year with an 88-74 record, one game behind Houston for the NL Wild Card.

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