Phillies fall to Braves in season finale
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Phillies lost to the Braves 12-5 in their season finale on Sunday, finishing with a 73-89 record - their worst since the 2000 season.
The NL East champion Braves finished off the regular season with their 96th win, their most in nine years. They'd like 11 more victories.
"Now the fun begins," said manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Evan Gattis had a two-run homer among his three hits, and Elliot Johnson drove in five runs.
The Braves won their first division title since 2005. They will have home-field advantage against the Dodgers in the NL division series, which begins Thursday at Turner Field.
Erik Kratz hit a three-run homer for the Phillies, who trailed 5-0 after three innings.
Philadelphia finished fourth in the NL East with its worst record and finish since 2000, when it was in last place at 65-97. The Phillies watched after the game as Braves players gathered for a photo around a 2013 sign that was placed on a stand in front of the mound.
"This isn't the situation that you envisioned going into spring training," said Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who had two hits to finish at .284.
"If there is a bright spot, it gives us an opportunity to get to work a little bit sooner. We can start improving next week."
After five straight first-place finishes, the Phillies fell to 81-81 last season. The decline continued this season, and manager Charlie Manuel was fired on Aug 16.
The Phillies were 20-22 under Manuel's replacement, Ryne Sandberg, who was given a three-year contract on Sept. 22.
Zach Miner (0-2), who began his career in the Braves' organization, gave up five runs on seven hits and three in only 2 1/3 innings. Six Phillies pitchers combined for nine walks.
Phillies third baseman Cody Asche needed seven stitches after leaving the game with a cut chin in the first inning. He was hurt when a throw from left fielder Domonic Brown bounced and hit his chin as Jason Heyward was sliding into third base. Freddy Galvis replaced Asche.
Phillies rookie right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who made 11 starts, gave up two runs on three hits in the eighth in only his second relief appearance.
The Braves will be off on Monday before having workouts Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for their NL division series. ... Gonzalez said the decision to start Elliot Johnson had nothing to do with Chris Johnson's dugout altercation with first base coach Terry Pendleton after Saturday night's loss. Chris Johnson said he apologized to Pendleton for throwing his helmet, which he said bounced and hit Pendleton. Pendleton then grabbed Johnson's jersey with two hands and the two exchanged words. ... The Braves' season attendance was 2,548,679, their top total since 2007. Sunday's turnout was 42,194. ... Laird's four hits matched his career high.
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