The Atlanta Braves, playing for a wild card berth in the playoffs, dropped their final game of the 2011 season as the Philadelphia Phillies scored the game-winning run in the 13th inning to down the Braves 4-3 on Wednesday night in Atlanta.
The Braves, who once held an 8.5 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild card standings, hit a slump at the wrong time of the season dropping eight of their last 10 en route to being sent home without a chance to make a run in the playoffs.
Atlanta sent veteran ace Tim Hudson to the mound to diffuse one of the major league's hottest offenses and send them into the playoffs. Hudson pitched a quality 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four batters. Scott Linebrink continued his season-long struggles and picked up the loss after allowing the game-winning run in the top of the 13th inning.
The Phillies jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after a Ryan Howard RBI-double scored Hunter Pence in the first inning of play. The Braves quickly answered back in the bottom of the first as a Chipper Jones sacrifice fly scored Michael Bourn and evened the score at one run apiece.
After Martin Prado reached on an infield single, Dan Uggla crushed his 36th home run of the season to give the Braves a 3-1 lead after the third inning.
The Phillies were held at bay until the top of the seventh inning when an error by shortstop Jack Wilson allowed Carlos Ruiz to reach base safely and score Raul Ibanez from third to make the score 3-2 in favor of Atlanta.
When the Braves brought in close Craig Kimbrel to shut the door in the top of the ninth, the game looked sure to be over. But the Phillies had other ideas. Philadelphia led off the inning with a single by Placido Polanco. After Pete Orr was put in the game as a pinch runner, Kimbrel walked two straight batters before Chase Utley used a sacrifice fly to score Orr from third and send the game into extra innings.
Atlanta had a chance to end the game in the top of the 12th inning after Jason Heyward singled to right field and advance to third after a sacrifice bunt by Wilson and a wild pitch by Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus. A Martin Prado strikeout ended the inning and any hopes of the Braves clinching the win.
The Braves put Linebrink in the game and things quickly fell apart as Pence used a two-out single to shallow right field to bring Brian Schneider home from third and score the eventual game-winning run.
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