Braves clinch playoff spot

It took all 162 games but the Atlanta Braves have finally clinched a spot in the 2010 Playoffs so it looks like mascot “Homer” will be donning his head at least a few more times this season.

Despite a rocky September which saw the team lose six of nine games against last place teams and lose five in a row against the Phillies at one point, the Braves will be playing as the Wild Card for the first time in franchise history.

Despite finishing the year with an offense that has only three productive hitters, the Braves were able to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-7 in the only game of the series that really mattered.

After falling behind 2-0, the Braves rallied back to take an 8-2 lead into the seventh inning. Tim Hudson, who could win Comeback Player of the Year, pitched seven strong innings, allowing four runs before leaving with the lead.

After Jonny Venters struggled early in the eighth, Billy Wagner was brought in to try and record the four out save. Wagner allowed three runs to score in the eighth, but struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the win.

The Braves didn’t officially clinch the Wild Card however, until the San Francisco Giants won 3-0 over the San Diego Padres later in the afternoon. When Brian Wilson completed the San Francisco shut out, the Braves finally had reason to celebrate.

All season long the Braves excelled at winning games in their last at-bat, so it somehow seems fitting that they won a close game on the last day of the season to return to the playoffs. Riding Derek Lowe’s 5-0 hot streak at the end of the season also helped their cause.

The Braves seemed flat after yesterday’s loss, but now should be riding high as they move into the playoffs for the final time in Bobby Cox’s illustrious career. With a strong pitching staff and some late inning magic, the Braves just might be able to get Cox that second World Series title that has eluded him for so long.

More MLB: Braves ride Derek Lowe’s 5-0 hot streak into the playoffs – Sports Climax

Used with permission of the author.

 Along with contributing to Sports Climax, Brett Kettyle is the Atlanta Braves Community Leader on Bleacher Report and maintains a Braves column for MTR Media. Follow Brett on Twitter.

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