ATLANTA (AP) — Charlie Manuel said the Phillies couldn't have asked for a better setting to complete a three-game sweep than a four-run lead in the ninth with closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound.
That made the ninth-inning collapse especially painful.
Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer off Papelbon with two outs in the ninth, capping a five-run rally that sent the Atlanta Braves over the Philadelphia Phillies 8-7 on Sunday.
The blown save was the fourth in 35 chances for Papelbon, who said he didn't regret throwing three straight fastballs to Jones. Jones hit the third fastball 428 feet.
"I threw the pitch I wanted," Papelbon said. "I'm the pitcher. I throw the pitch I want."
The Phillies would have climbed to within four games of .500 and within seven games of the wild-card leaders with a win. Instead, they could only stare as Jones circled the bases.
"It was sitting right there for us," Manuel said. "We couldn't finish it off.
"It was set up perfect for us. We didn't get it done. ... We won the series but so what? We had a chance to sweep. We need to win every game we can. "
Papelbon refused to overstate the impact of one loss.
"I wouldn't say it's a crushing loss," Papelbon said. "We've had a lot of losses this year. We've had a lot of chances to sweep teams."
Cole Hamels, who gave up three runs in six innings, said the more damaging losses for the Phillies this season came in long losing streaks.
"I think losing six and seven in a row was way worse," Hamels said. "That's where your chances are, not one game."
The 40-year-old Jones, who is retiring after the season, was engulfed by his teammates at home plate after the homer.
"In that mob scene at the plate, you kind of get lost in it, time kind of stands still," Jones said. "You're not really thinking about any of that other stuff. You're just thrilled that you won a game.
"Nothing beats that. That's as good as it gets."
Jones has two walk-off homers this season, both against the Phillies. On May 2 in Atlanta, his 11th-inning, two-run homer gave the Braves a 15-13 win.
This win was more important, because the Braves appeared bound toward their fourth straight loss. There was growing talk the team could stage of repeat of its collapse last September when it blew a wild-card lead. The 2011 collapse ended with three straight home losses to the Phillies.