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Wild finish: One NL playoff spot left

Philadelphia Phillies Jimmy Rollins speaks to the fans as they celebrate winning the Eastern Division Championship defeating the Washington Nationals 6-1, Sunday.
Philadelphia Phillies Jimmy Rollins speaks to the fans as they celebrate winning the Eastern Division Championship defeating the Washington Nationals 6-1, Sunday.
Tom Mihalek, Associated Press

Ryan Howard jumped into the stands at Citizens Bank Park, Matt Holliday threw baseball cards into the seats at Coors Field. They're far from finished.

There was no such celebration for Tom Glavine at Shea Stadium. His season is over — the New York Mets' historic collapse is complete.

For fans, there's an extra treat: The San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies meet Monday night in a one-game tiebreaker for the NL wild-card spot.

Hours after one final failure by the Mets gave the Philadelphia Phillies the NL East title, the Padres missed a chance to clinch the majors' last playoff slot. Now, they hope All-Star ace Jake Peavy can outpitch Josh Fogg at Coors Field.

"I didn't want it to come down to this, but it has," Peavy said. "It's going to be fun. Hey, we're starting the playoffs with Game 7, you know?"

It will be baseball's first one-game playoff since the Mets beat Cincinnati in 1999. The winner starts the postseason Wednesday at Philadelphia.

Also Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs start at Arizona in the other NL series.

The AL pairings already were set: The Los Angeles Angels take on Boston at Fenway Park on Wednesday, then the New York Yankees begin at Cleveland on Thursday.

"Obviously, they've got a lot of playoff experience, more than we've seen," Indians slugger Travis Hafner said. "But it's a five-game series, and we feel good about our team."

The Phillies and Mets were tied for the NL East lead going into the final day of the regular season. Any drama was quickly drained when Glavine gave up seven runs in the first inning to Florida.

"It's something that's going to take a while for us to get over," the 300-game winner said after an 8-1 loss.

The seven runs matched the most Glavine allowed in an inning during his 21-year career, the Elias Sports Bureau said. The Mets became the first team to blow a seven-game lead with only 17 games left.

"We had an opportunity to win this thing and we let it get away from us," Glavine said. "You don't like to give away games. Obviously, over the last six weeks, we did quite a lot of that."

Had the Mets won, it would have left four teams tied with the same record and caused a crazy three days of tiebreakers.

Down the road in Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins scored twice as the Phillies took an early lead and beat Washington 6-1.

Rollins said before the season the Phillies were the team to beat — yet the MVP candidate couldn't have envisioned this ending.

"I'm no prophet, just a baseball player," Rollins said.

It made for a neat twist, at any rate. Earlier this year, the Phillies became the first team in history to post 10,000 losses. And their collapse in 1964, when they blew a 6 1/2-game lead with only 12 to play, is the stuff of baseball fables.

"I guess they can't say we were the worst team anymore," said Dennis Bennett, the Phils' opening-day starter on that infamous club.

The Phillies returned to the postseason for the first time since 1993. Howard climbed into the seats to celebrate, a couple of players showered fans with a water hose and longtime announcer Harry Kalas sang "High Hopes" over the public address system.

"There's only one more celebration to try and go for now and that's the whole thing," Howard said.

While the Padres were losing 11-6 at Milwaukee, Colorado gave itself a chance by holding off Arizona 4-3.

"I normally don't look at the scoreboard," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "I looked at the scoreboard 3,482 times today. Whenever the ball wasn't in play I caught myself. It was sick."

Holliday's single set up a go-ahead, three-run burst in the eighth inning. When it was over, he showered home fans with cards.

Holliday went 1-for-3 and is hitting a league-leading .340, three points ahead of Atlanta's Chipper Jones. Monday's tiebreaker counts as a regular season game, and Holliday will win the crown provided he doesn't go 0-for-5.

"I don't think anything will help us tomorrow other than going out and getting hits off Jake Peavy," Holliday said.

While the NL was fraught with tension, the AL was full of fun.

The Yankees, Angels, Red Sox and Indians also gave their regulars time to rest.

In Baltimore, catcher Jorge Posada took over the managing duties from Joe Torre for the day and guided the Yankees to a 10-4 win.

"Everybody had a pretty good time today," Torre said.

At Fenway, the Red Sox finished up with a 3-2 loss to Minnesota. There was good will all over the ballpark — the wives of Boston pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima sent Japanese sandwiches and desserts to the press box for the media.