And so it ends. Somehow, you knew Scott Linebrink would be involved. He would have to be.
The season in microcosm: The Braves got an early lead, held it to the very end, but lost it. The two teams traded runs in the first, Ryan Howard hitting a two-out double in the top of the inning, Michael Bourn getting a run with his legs (single, steal, groundout, fly ball from Chipper Jones) in the bottom of the inning.
In the third, Bourn reached again on a single and stole second; he couldn’t get to third on an infield hit by Martin Prado. He then tried to steal third; he appeared on the replay to be safe but was called out. Dan Uggla hit a two-run homer on an 0-2 pitch (a lot of his homers seem to comeafter he goes down 0-2 or 1-2) to make it 3-1. It would be the last runs the 2011 Braves would score.
Tim Hudson did his job making it hold up. He got through the sixth with little trouble. Fredi sent him out there to start the seventh instead of going to Eric O’Flaherty, and I don’t have much of a problem with that, but with one out he allowed a double to Raul Ibanez and an infield hit by Placido Polanco. Hudson got a perfect double play ball to get out of the inning, but Jack Wilson botched it, allowing a run to score. O’Flaherty then came in and got Shane “Burn In Hell” Victorino to hit into an actual double play.
Hibernation Mode continued. Jonny Venters loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman but finished the inning with a strikeout and oddly looked the best he has in weeks. Craig Kimbrel allowed an opposite-field leadoff single in the ninth, then got a strikeout. And then his control deserted him. Walk, walk, sac fly to score, of all people, Peterson Thomas Gord Orr with the tying run. He walked the next man, and Kris Medlen had to come in to get out of the jam.
The Braves had a chance to win it in the tenth, when Bourn singled, but Chipper’s drive to the gap was caught on the run. Jason Heyward singled leading off the twelfth, but was stranded. In the thirteenth, Fredi brought in Linebrink, because he just wanted to get it over with. Hunter Pence singled with two out to give the Phillies the lead. Uggla walked with one out in the twelfth, but Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play to end it.
Let’s fire a few people, okay?