The Atlanta Braves will need a win and some help if they are to have home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
The NL East champions enter the final day of the regular season a game behind St. Louis for the best record in the NL. The Braves need a home win against the Philadelphia Phillies and a Cardinals loss at Busch Stadium to the Chicago Cubs to take the No. 1 seed. Atlanta holds the tiebreaker against the Cardinals after winning the season series.
The Braves nearly rallied from a 5-1 deficit to win last night, but lost 5-4. Justin Upton smacked a three-run homer in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon. Freddie Freeman then singled and was put into scoring position when Evan Gattis walked, but Chris Johnson grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
Following the contest, it got testy in the Braves dugout with first base coach Terry Pendleton exchanging verbal jabs with Johnson, who is mired in a 2-for-25 slump. He's struck out 10 times over his last six games.
Mike Minor (13-9) fanned six, but yielded two runs on five hits and three walks over six frames for Atlanta, which had won four of its last six tilts coming in.
"I feel like I had pretty good stuff tonight. I was locating ok," Minor said.
Ethan Martin allowed a run on four hits and a walk in a three-inning start for Philadelphia. Luis Garcia (1-1) picked up the win by tossing a scoreless fourth and fifth.
"Our young guys came out of the bullpen and did a great job," Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown said.
Julio Teheran, who is coming off a strong six-inning performance against the Chicago Cubs a week ago in a win, takes the ball for the Braves. The right- hander is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in three games (2 starts) against the Phillies.
Zach Miner makes his third consecutive start to finish the season for the Phillies. He's totaled seven innings over the previous two starts, both against the Marlins, and has given up only six hits and a run. This will be his third game and first career start versus the Braves.
The Phillies did record a three-game sweep of the Braves at home in the last meeting from Sept. 6-8, but have lost six of nine in Atlanta this season.