In the last couple of years, the last day of the season was somewhat meaningless. By that time, the Phillies already clinched the division and September callups saw much of the action.
2011 was a tad different. The division was already clinched, but the Phillies were playing for something else: history. And as it turned out, Game 162 was pretty intense too.
Looking back, the 4-3 win may not have been the best thing. The Phillies finished off the collapse of the Atlanta Braves by eliminating them from the postseason. This changed the playoff schedule as the Phillies were forced to play the St. Louis Cardinals, a red-hot team, in the first round of the playoffs. As we all know, this did not benefit the Phillies, but there is still reason why the 102nd win is a great moment.
Here are a few notes from Pat Gallen’s recap on Phillies Nation:
The Phillies, having run out of games for pitchers to start, ran out not one but three starters this evening, with Joe Blanton allowing a run in two innings, Cole Hamels allowing two in three innings, and Vance Worley pitched around two walks and a hit in a scoreless inning.
Ryan Howard‘s RBI double off Tim Hudson in the first staked the Phillies to a 1-0 lead in the first, but Chipper Jones drove Michael Bourn in to draw level in the bottom half of the frame before Dan Uggla‘s two-run homer off of Hamels in the third put the Braves up 3-1. The Phillies, however, did not go easily. In the top of the seventh, with runners at the corners and one out, Jack Wilson booted a sure double play ball to allow Raul Ibanez to score.
But in the ninth, the levee finally gave way. Craig Kimbrel, one of the best relief pitchers in the game this season, let up a hard single to Placido Polanco, struck out Carlos Ruiz, then walked Ben Francisco and Jimmy Rollins to load the bases. Then, in an instant, the Braves’ cakewalk to a one-game playoff ended with a Chase Utley sacrifice fly.
In the top of the 13th, the Phillies scratched across the killer blow. With two outs and Brian Schneider on first, Scott Linebrink allowed back-to-back singles to Chase Utley and Hunter Pence, the second of which was an opposite-field dribbler that barely rolled to the outfield grass. Linebrink got Mini Mart to kill the rally, but the damage was done.
Michael Schwimer, Michael Stutes, and Justin De Fratus each pitched well out of the bullpen, showing promise for the future. They were able to keep the score close so the Phillies offense could do damage.
It was a pretty intense game that went back and forth, and the Phillies came out on top. The Phillies’ 102nd win set a franchise record. Not only that, Charlie Manuel became the Phillies’ all-time winningest manager.
It’s unbelievable to have witnessed 102 wins in a season. I never thought I would see the Phillies win 100 games in my lifetime, so it’s pretty awesome to say that I rooted for the team with the most wins in franchise history.