Repeat by Mets boosts Brewers
Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 5:12 pm
By: By The Associated Press
CC Sabathia and Ryan Braun helped the Brewers end 26 years of frustration, while Mets fans watched a frustrating finale rerun of their wretched September collapse from a year ago.
With the NL wild-card spot up for grabs, the Mets and Brewers were both involved in tie games in the eighth inning on Sunday. But in a matter of minutes, the Mets bullpen imploded yet again and Braun hit a home run that put Milwaukee in the playoffs and sent Mets fans home from the Shea Stadium finale deeply disappointed. Again.
Scott Schoeneweis and Luis Ayala served up back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to Wes Helms and Dan Uggla, and New York completed their second consecutive September slide with a 4-2 loss to Florida.
“We failed. We failed as a team,” David Wright said. “There’s no pointing fingers. There’s no excuses. We as a unit didn’t get the job done.”
Minutes later at Milwaukee, Braun put the Brewers ahead with a two-run homer. Sabathia did the rest, helping the Brewers hold on to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1.
“It’s our time,” Sabathia said.
Milwaukee will face Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. The NL Central champion Cubs will play the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In other NL games on the final Sunday of the regular season, it was: Philadelphia 8, Washington 3; San Francisco 3, Los Angeles 1; Arizona 2, Colorado 1; St. Louis 11, Cincinnati 4; Houston 3, Atlanta 1; and Pittsburgh 6, San Diego 1.
At New York, Ryan Church flied out to deep center with a runner on for the final out, ending the Mets’ season.
It was an eerily similar scenario to last year, when New York lost at home to Florida on the final day of season, ending its playoff hopes.
That defeat finished one of baseball’s biggest meltdowns — the Mets had led the NL East by seven games with 17 to play before they went 5-12 down the stretch.
This time, they held first place by a season-high 31/2 games with 17 remaining before going 7-10 the rest of the way.
“I have to believe it, because it’s happening,” Carlos Beltran said. “It’s a bad group for you to be there, as a player. I have no more words.”
Excluding the 1981 split season, the Mets became the first team in major league history to hold 31/2-game division leads in consecutive Septembers and fail to make the postseason both times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Cardinals 11, Reds 4
At St. Louis, Felipe Lopez drove in three runs and Brad Thompson threw five effective innings, helping the Cardinals end the year on a season-best six game winning streak.
Astros 3, Braves 1
At Houston, Brad Ausmus hit a two-run homer in his final game with the Astros.
Chipper Jones secured his first NL batting title, walking in his only at-bat. Jones hit a career-high .364 to edge Albert Pujols and become the NL’s first switch-hitting batting champion since Terry Pendleton won in his 1991 MVP season for Atlanta.
Phillies 8, Nationals 3
At Philadelphia, Lou Marson and Matt Stairs hit back-to-back homers for the NL East-champion Phillies, who rested their regulars in a win over Washington.
Cole Hamels was scheduled to pitch, but took the day off to rest for his Game 1 start in the division series on Wednesday. Manager Charlie Manuel said he was undecided about his Game 2 starter and might wait until Monday to announce one.
Giants 3, Dodgers 1
At San Francisco, Giants ace Tim Lincecum matched his career high with 13 strikeouts to finish with a majors-best 265 in a win over the NL West champion Dodgers.
Los Angeles concluded its division championship season at 84-78 and will face the NL Central champion Chicago Cubs starting Wednesday at Wrigley Field.
D’backs 2, Rockies 1
At Phoenix, Randy Johnson pitched a two-hitter in what might have been his final appearance with the Diamondbacks. The 45-year-old Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner whose contract expires after this season, earned his 295th career win.
Pirates 6, Padres 1
At San Diego, Adam LaRoche and Steve Pearce hit consecutive homers in the fourth inning and the Pirates won a matchup of last-place clubs.