The Braves lead in the wild card race is gone. A lead of nearly ten games on September 1 is gone and now there is just one game remaining in the 2011 regular season.
Derek Lowe was predictably awful in his start and was booed off the mound. The veteran allowed a solo-home run in the first inning to Chase Utley which dampened the Braves' spirits. Jimmy Rollins drove in a run in the third inning with a single and Hunter Pence increased the lead with a sacrifice fly that plated Roy Oswalt. Placido Polanco drove home the fourth run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the fourth as well.
Hunter Pence belted home run No. 22 of the season in the fifth to make the score 6-0. Jimmy Rollins hit a home run -- his second in as many days -- in the seventh.
The only offense from Atlanta's side came from a ninth inning home run from Martin Prado. A little too late, don't you think? The only true chance the team had was runners on first and second with one out in the fourth inning, but Chipper Jones tapped back to the mound weakly to induce a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat.
St. Louis won 12-6 against the Astros this evening and each team sits at 89-72 with one to play. Tim Hudson will take the mound for the Braves on Wednesday and he will be opposed by Joe Blanton and the Phillies bullpen. The Cardinals will send Chris Carpenter to the bump with Brett Myers going for the Astros.
This is it, folks. One game to win the wild card. If for some reason both the Braves and Cardinals win (or both lose) there would be a one-game playoff on Thursday in St. Louis.