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Lights out: Rockies sweep Phillies

DENVER - Every time it looked as if the Phillies had no shot at tomorrow, they always fought for another day.

DENVER - Every time it looked as if the Phillies had no shot at tomorrow, they always fought for another day.

But their remarkable journey ended last night at Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies swept them in the best-of-five National League division series with a 2-1 victory in Game 3.



"It's unfortunate," Jamie Moyer said. "I thought this team had a chance to do some special things in the playoffs. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way."

The Phillies won the National League East for the first time since 1993, ending a 14-year postseason drought last Sunday with a victory over the Washington Nationals and a memorable celebration at Citizens Bank Park. Less than a week later, the Phillies sat in the chairs in front of their lockers in the visitors' clubhouse at Coors Field stunned and silent.

They hope to be back next season, but there are no guarantees.

"You never know," Moyer said. "When you have that magic during the course of a season and you fight and you battle and you deal with whatever you have to deal with during the course of the season and you stay together and win, it's very special. These moments don't come along too often. I haven't had them come along too often in my career. And you cherish them. You don't know when you'll get back. You hope to get back. But it's over for us."

In a game that had its bizarre aspectes - a 20-degree dip in temperature at game time to a 14-minute power outage because of a computer malfunction before the second inning - the Rockies strung together three two-out singles to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

Tom Gordon and J.C. Romero got the first two outs in the eighth inning when Garrett Atkins hit a single to left field that landed just in front of leftfielder Jayson Werth. Brad Hawpe then hit the ball through the hole between first and second. Chase Utley tried to make a diving stop, but the ball deflected off his glove, which allowed Atkins - the best man at Utley's wedding in January - to cruise into third and put runners at the corners.

Pinch-hitter Jeff Baker then laced a single to right to score Atkins.

The Phillies couldn't muster anything in the top of the ninth.

The game and the season ended with Shane Victorino grounding out to second base. The Rockies quickly stormed the field to celebrate their trip to the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Manager Charlie Manuel watched the mob scene for a few moments before he pulled the gum out of his mouth and tossed it to the ground. Victorino took a long walk back to the visitors' dugout.

"We're all very disappointed we couldn't make the season last a lit bit longer," second baseman Chase Utley said. "But we've got to hold our heads high. We overcame a lot. We battled through so much this year."

The Phillies had arrived at the ballpark yesterday expecting it to be so different.

They took the field loose and optimistic.

They remained confident.

Before the game, Manuel and shortstop Jimmy Rollins met with reporters in a tent just outside the ballpark. Manuel and Rollins cracked jokes to one another, and at one another's expense.

"This man right here doesn't have a panic button," Rollins said, looking at Manuel. "And when a manager doesn't have a panic button, no one else in the clubhouse does. We go out and we have fun with each other, enjoy the moment. We've done it all year long. I'm still going to talk about your mom if you mess up and I'm still going to try to make everybody laugh. It's true."

The Phillies needed to keep their cool because after six innings they had just one hit and trailed, 1-0. It probably helped their nerves that Moyer, who pitched beautifully Sunday at Citizens Bank Park when the team clinched the NL East title, turned in another stellar performance.

Moyer allowed just five hits and one run in six innings.

The run came in the fifth, when Kaz Matsui hit a two-out triple to left-center field to score Yorvit Torrealba. Pat Burrell tried to make a sliding catch but never got close to the ball.

It looked as if it might be enough, because the Phillies' offense had been nonexistent.

The Phillies led the National League with 892 runs scored this season, which ranked second in baseball behind the New York Yankees. But the Phils hit just .172 (16 for 93) with eight runs scored in the entire series, with four of those runs coming on home runs.

The Phillies actually entered the postseason not swinging the bat well. In their final seven games of the regular season, they hit just .235 and scored 34 runs. Eleven of those 34 runs came on home runs. They simply hadn't been putting together big innings the way they had throughout the season.

"We just didn't hit," centerfielder Aaron Rowand said. "The pitching wasn't too bad. The bottom line is we just didn't hit. There's a reason they're here. They've got a good pitching staff. They're a good hitting team. They're hot. We just didn't hit."

Rockies righthander Ubaldo Jimenez struck out Rollins, Burrell and Rowand in the first inning - leaving Utley on third and Ryan Howard on first. The Phillies didn't have another base runner until Carlos Ruiz walked with one out in the fifth inning.

They didn't have their second hit until Victorino smacked an 0-2 breaking ball into the right-field stands for a home run with one out in the seventh inning to make it 1-1.

Victorino knew it was going before he hit first base, pumping his arms in celebration.

Ruiz followed with a hit and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle pulled Jimenez for righthander Matt Herges. But pinch-hitters Greg Dobbs and Tadahito Iguchi grounded out and popped out, respectively, to end the inning.

The Phillies had tied it.

They had new life.

But this time there would be no comeback.

The season would not go on.