Hudson leads Braves to 2-1 win over Phillies

Associated Press Modified: September 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm •  Published: September 23, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies still have some postseason hopes.

But the harsh reality is this for the Phillies — not even their second-half surge will get them into the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

Tim Hudson tossed two-hit ball over 7 1-3 innings to help the Atlanta Braves inch closer to the postseason with a 2-1 win over the Phillies on Sunday.

The five-time defending NL East champion Phillies had won four in a row and 12 of 15 to get in the wild-card race, only to lose two straight to the Braves.

The Phillies are five games out of the second wild-card spot with nine games left.

"The noose is getting tighter," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But we're still there."

Cliff Lee (6-8) struck out 11 in eight strong innings, but lost for the first time since Aug. 11. Lee hadn't allowed more than a run in each of his past five starts and only one of his two runs allowed Sunday was earned.

The Phillies could miss the postseason for the first time since 2006.

"We've put ourselves in a position we don't want to be in," Lee said. "You can't do anything about it now."

The Braves are set to answer how they'd respond to their 2011 collapse with a celebration at Turner Field.

Hudson (16-6) struck out four and allowed one unearned run to send the Braves back to Atlanta with a shot at winning at least an NL wild-card berth.

A year after a historic September collapse, the Braves are again close to a postseason spot. They can clinch during a six-game homestand that opens Tuesday.

The win reduced Atlanta's magic number for securing an NL wild-card playoff spot to two.

"It's a good feeling," Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. "We're in a good spot to, at the very least, make the playoffs. We're not going to quit anything."

The Braves learned the hard way the crushing disappointment of blowing a big September lead. The Braves were up 8½ games through Sept. 5 last year, but went 9-18 down the stretch and were overtaken by St. Louis on the final day of the season.

The Braves can almost work the final week of this season on setting their playoff rotation.

"I have one or two more starts before, hopefully, we get into the playoffs and it really starts counting," Hudson said.

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