ATLANTA - Charlie Manuel is now the king of everything and still a man in search of a crown.
In most dramatic fashion, the Phillies rallied from a two-run deficit during Wednesday night's series finale at Turner Field and pulled out a 4-3, 13-inning victory that completed the Atlanta Braves' monstrous September free-fall.
The victory served a trio of purposes for the Phillies.
Most important, it resolved the issue of which team they will play in the National League division series that begins Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.
By shutting out the Astros down in Houston, the St. Louis Cardinals finished a furious September rally past the Braves to earn the National League wild-card berth. Two weeks after clinching their fifth straight division title against the Cardinals and then dropping eight straight games to send the region's angst-o-meter skyrocketing, the Phillies will stare down St. Louis.
Despite their only lengthy losing streak of the season, the Phillies still managed to reach a franchise record 102 victories by beating the Braves in the season finale.
Wednesday's win also allowed Manuel to pass the acerbic and infamous Gene Mauch for the most managerial wins in Phillies history. Manuel is 646-488 in seven seasons. Mauch actually lost more games than he won and was more well-known for overseeing the collapse of the 1964 Phillies and a 23-game losing streak in 1961 that remains a major-league record.
Manuel, a controversial hire in 2005 and a lightning rod when
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