Braves falter in September, miss playoffs

The Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the postseason after leading the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race by 8½ games through games of September 5. According to Elias, at the time the game ended, that was tied for the largest blown lead in September in major-league history, along with the infamous 1964 Philadelphia Phillies.

The Braves were swept by those Phillies after dropping the regular-season finale 4-3 Wednesday night. Tim Hudson started for the Braves having gone 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his previous four starts. He also started Atlanta’s final game last year, getting the win as the Braves clinched a playoff spot.

He pitched well, allowing two earned runs in 6⅓ innings, but rookie Craig Kimbrel blew his eighth save of the season and Atlanta finished September 9-18 -- including 0-6 against the Phillies -- after going 17-9 in August.

The Braves finished the season 6-12 against the Phillies and lost their last seven to their division rivals. It’s their second-fewest wins in a single season against the Phillies since joining the National League East in 1994.

For a great timeline of all the wild action tonight click here.

The Cardinals went 18-8 this month, even taking three of four games in Philadelphia less than two weeks ago. Chris Carpenter threw a two-hit shutout Thursday to give the Cardinals a temporary half-game lead, the second two-hit shutout of the day in the majors. The last time a pitcher threw a two-hit shutout on the final day of the regular season was in 1999, when Al Leiter and the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds in the wild-card tiebreaker.

The Phillies set the franchise record with their 102nd win and manager Charlie Manuel won his 646th game with the club, passing Gene Mauch -- who coincidentally was the manager of that 1964 squad -- for the most wins in franchise history.

The Phillies will host the Cardinals in the NLDS starting Saturday in Philadelphia. The Cardinals won six of nine games against the Phillies this season, one of just two teams (the Nationals are the other) to win the season series from Philadelphia.