The Phillies, who needed a win over the St. Louis Cardinals coupled with a loss by Atlanta to nail down the division title, didn't do their part as they lost, 4-2, in 11 innings. Their magic number shrank to one because of the Braves' 12-2 loss to the New York Mets.
"We will clinch. I like our position," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Whenever it happens, it's going to happen. Nobody's scared."
The Phillies may not be scared, but they're not hitting, either. They have scored 13 runs in their last seven games, an arid stretch of offense that has stricken them on and off throughout the season. In a defeat that offered heavy doses of drama and frustration for the 197th consecutive sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park, the top four batters in the Phillies lineup - Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Hunter Pence - went a combined 0 for 18.
The only RBI belonged to John Mayberry Jr., who doubled home a run in the second. The other was scored with two outs in the ninth inning when pinch-hitter Ryan Howard doubled and Carlos Ruiz hit a drive deep down the right-field line that ticked off the glove of Corey Patterson, who was charged with an error. Pinch-runner Michael Martinez scored on the play to send the game into extra innings.
When the Phillies aren't hitting, Manuel is not a happy man.
"We didn't do enough hitting tonight to get there," Manuel said. "The last three games in Houston, the doubleheader here [Thursday], and tonight we didn't put a lot of hits on the board. We will."
Once again, the Phillies pitched well enough to win. Vance Worley gave up one run over six innings on a bases-loaded walk.
"That would have been cool to do it tonight with me pitching," Worley said. "But it's a team effort. It's not just me out there."
The defeat was pinned on Michael Schwimer, who gave up the eventual winning run on a single by Adron Chambers in the 11th. It was Chambers' first hit in the big leagues.
The score was tied, 1-1, before Antonio Bastardo served up a home run to Yadier Molina in the eighth inning.
There was high drama in the Phillies' half of the ninth. They were one out from defeat when Howard ripped a two-out double down the right-field line off hard-throwing closer Jason Motte. Patterson, a defensive replacement, didn't secure the ball hit by Ruiz, and it was 2-2.
Whether the Phillies were sneaking glances at the scoreboard to catch Braves-Mets updates isn't known, but many of those in the 197th consecutive sellout crowd were. The buzz from the crowd that was noticeable when the Mets took an early 2-0 lead grew louder when a 10-2 New York lead was posted. At that point, the Phillies were still locked in a 1-1 tie.
But Molina refocused the spectators' attention to the field when he pounded a 1-2 fastball from Bastardo off the foul pole in left for a home run that gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead with one out in the eighth.
So the concerns about Bastardo continue. The lefthander who was nearly invincible through most of the season has been scored on in three of his last five appearances. What makes Bastardo's recent struggles more worrisome for the Phillies is he's the only lefty in the bullpen.
Manuel believes he has given Bastardo enough rest recently and said it's just a matter of his getting back in a groove.
"I thought he threw the ball a little bit better. He threw a fastball inside to Molina and it hurt him," Manuel said. "We've got time to get him right. He's been real critical all year long. He's been one of our big pieces in the 'pen. He's got good stuff, and we'll try to get him right. I think he's had enough rest."
Meanwhile, it was an important win for the Cardinals, who pulled within 31/2 games of Atlanta in the wild-card chase after their eighth win in the last nine games.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at email@example.com or @rayparrilloinq on Twitter.