PHILADELPHIA -- The Atlanta Braves closed out the Philadelphia Phillies' park by ensuring the road to the World Series in the National League will go through their home, Turner Field.
The NL East champion Braves clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 5-2 victory Sunday over the Phillies in the final game at Veterans Stadium.
The Phillies are moving into the new Citizens Bank Park next year after 33 mostly losing seasons at the Vet, which opened with a victory over the Montreal Expos on April 10, 1971.
Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa got the first hit at the Vet.
"It's a pretty special place," Bowa said, wiping away tears. "Playing here, defying the odds, winning the championship."
Greg Maddux got his 289th career victory and Robert Fick drove in two runs for the Braves, who open the playoffs against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
The Braves, who earned their 101st victory, entered with a half-game lead over San Francisco for the best record in the NL. The Giants started the day with 99 wins, and played against Los Angeles.
But the Giants already said they will not travel to New York on Monday for a possible makeup game against the Mets. So the Braves' victory guaranteed they'll finish with the No. 1 seed.
"We won, we got home field, it was a good day," Maddux said.
For the Phillies, who were eliminated from the NL wild-card race on Thursday, and the sellout crowd of 58,554 fans, the game was more about nostalgia.
It was fitting the Phillies closed out the Vet with a loss. After all, they are the losingest franchise in sports. No team in any sport has lost more games (8,675).
There were several bright moments at the Vet over the years, though. The Phillies won the only championship in franchise history at the Vet, clinching the title with a victory over Kansas City in Game 6 of the 1980 World Series.
During the ninth inning of that game, police officers rode horses onto the field while helmeted officers sat in the dugouts and officers with snarling German shepherds stood in the bullpens, anticipating a wild celebration.
After this game, police rode motorcycles and bicycles onto the field to make sure fans didn't cause any problems by trying to take away a piece of the Vet.
Pat Burrell got the final hit, a single in the ninth.
Kevin Millwood, who earlier this season threw the last no-hitter at the Vet, took the loss in the finale, allowing five runs and 11 hits in four innings.
Millwood (14-12) was removed after Chipper Jones doubled to start the fifth and Andruw Jones followed with a single.
The fans initially booed as Millwood walked off the mound, but cheers quickly drowned out the sound. As he headed toward the dugout, Millwood wound up and heaved his glove underhanded into the crowd. He then removed his cap and also tossed that to the fans.
Some fans yelled for the glove to be thrown back onto the field, while Millwood's wife, Rena, sat in the stands, holding the couple's baby and shaking her head.
"I was going to do that anyway, booing or cheering," Millwood said. "I just wanted to give something back."
Millwood, acquired from the Braves last offseason, had a poor finish, going 0-3 with two no-decisions in his last five starts, including two disappointing outings against Florida with the wild card at stake.
Millwood, who made $9.9 million this year, will be a free agent after this season and might not return. Phillies slugger Jim Thome isn't going anywhere, though.
Thome, who entered with a NL-leading 47 homers, emerged as one of the most popular players in team history in just his first season in Philadelphia. He got yet another curtain call after being replaced at first base to start the ninth inning.
"I feel honored to have played here in this last year," Thome said.
Seconds after Thome's ovation, the crowd erupted in cheers as the NFL's Eagles scored a game-clinching touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. Fans then began chanting, "E-A-G-L-E-S."
Maddux (16-11) gave up two runs and four hits in five innings. The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner will start Game 3 of the first-round series against the Cubs.
"We're in good shape going in," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We're fine. We just have to choose the roster tomorrow."
Notes: Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a U.S. senator, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former second baseman Tony Taylor. ... The final lineup card was presented by Bowa and former managers Danny Ozark and Dallas Green. Shag Crawford, who umpired the first game at the Vet, stood behind the plate with his son, Jerry, who was the plate umpire for the final game. ... Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas received a standing ovation went he went out to right field to change the number on the wall that signals the number of games remaining at the Vet. ... Millwood was 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA against the Braves this season. ... Don Money hit the first homer at the Vet. Thome hit the last homer, a solo shot in Saturday's comeback victory. ... Maddux moved into 22nd place on the career win list, passing Tommy John.
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