Philly sellout streak ends at 257

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia's reign as NL East champions is almost certain to come to an end after this season after five straight titles. The Phillies had another streak stop Monday night, as the club failed to sell out a regular-season home game for the first time after 257 in a row.

Ben Sheets pitched into the eighth inning and Jason Heyward homered to lead the streaking Atlanta Braves to a 6-1 victory over the Phillies in front of 41,665 at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies' crowd halted the club's consecutive sellout streak, which is the longest ever in the NL and third-longest in MLB history according to the club. The streak started on July 7, 2009.

"You kind of know it's going to happen," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "You would hope that it wouldn't. You would hope that one bad season wouldn't break it up. But that's the way it goes.

"People aren't going to spend money and come to the game if they don't feel they're getting their money's worth. And this year we've been a little short."

The Phillies are 23-31 at home this season.

"It's kind of up to us that we get our team together, get better and get our crowd back," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm sure we can. I'm sorry because we didn't sell out. It just goes to show you what kind of a season we've had."

Overall, Philadelphia was 154-103 during those games with Citizens Bank Park averaging 45,082 fans per game for a total draw of 11,585,952.

"It was a heck of a run, we had fun," Rollins said. "I know I go out every night, first thing I do is look up and see how many seats are empty at the beginning of the game and by the third inning see how many of those seats were filled. It was something we came to expect really. That's a lot of baseball games. There's been a lot of winning in that time. Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as we did.

"Forty-one thousand's nothing to shake your head at. It's just not a sellout. They're still showing up it's just that streak ended and now we gotta get back on the left column and start another one."

Rollins and the Phillies, who began Monday 16 games back in the NL East, will have to wait until Tuesday to do it.