September 26 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“During the day Saturday, attendants installed plastic coverings above every locker in the Phillies clubhouse. They were rolled up, ready to deploy when needed to protect personal belongings from champagne stains – and conveniently served as a constant reminder as to how close the Phillies are to the postseason.
“I think we’ve been around it enough that it’s not much of a factor,” righthander Chad Durbin said after a 5-2 loss to the Mets. “We’re aware of it.”
For 11 games, the Phillies rolled and needed to pay little attention to anything around them. The last time they lost, also against the Mets on Sept. 11, they were tied for first place in the National League East.
Now, with seven games to play, they have a six-game lead. Their magic number is two, meaning their fourth straight division crown could be clinched at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. It will require not only a Phillies win but also a Braves loss at Washington.
“We’re close,” Kyle Kendrick said. “It’s right around the corner. It’s exciting.”
That was about the only silver lining the Phillies left the ballpark with on Saturday. They led 2-0 after the first inning, only to be held scoreless for the next eight innings by Dillon Gee – the Mets righthander making his fourth major-league start – along with Elmer Dessens and Hisanori Takahashi.
The last time the Phillies lost a game in which they scored first was July 19 in St. Louis. Kendrick started that night, too. After that defeat, the Phillies were 48-44 and six games back of first place.
Yeah, things have changed. So much so that Saturday’s result caused a feeling that could surprise even the manager.
“Actually, we got outplayed tonight,” Charlie Manuel said. “It was one of those nights.”
Manuel hasn’t had to say that for some time.
“I hope this don’t happen too often,” he said. “We’ll start something tomorrow.”
The Mets didn’t have a runner on second base until the seventh. That’s when the game turned. Kendrick had allowed just three singles in six innings but needed Shane Victorino to make several catches deep in center field to preserve the shutout.”
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