ATLANTA — Chris Johnson made a headfirst dive into first base but was thrown out to end the game, then argued in the dugout with Atlanta coach Terry Pendleton after the Braves lost to Philadelphia 5-4 Saturday night.
The loss dropped Atlanta one game behind St. Louis for the best record in the National League. If they’re tied following Sunday’s season finale, the Braves will get home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Down 5-1, the Braves rallied in the ninth on Justin Upton’s three-run homer, his 27th, with two outs. Freddie Freeman singled and Evan Gattis walked to keep the rally going against Jonathan Papelbon.
Johnson hit a grounder to the hole and Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins made a diving stop, got up and made a one-hop throw to first baseman Darin Ruf for the final out.
When Johnson got to the dugout, Pendleton grabbed him and there were angry words before they pulled apart.
Mike Minor (13-9) took the loss after allowing two earned runs in six innings.
Philadelphia rookie Ethan Martin started and allowed a first-inning run in three innings. Fellow rookie Luis Garcia (1-1) pitched two innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win.
Eliminated from playoff contention a while back, the Phillies started five rookies. Cesar Hernandez had a career-high four hits and scored twice, and Cameron Rupp hit a two-run single.
The NL East champion Braves committed two of their three errors in the seventh as Philadelphia added two runs with the help of a wild pitch by reliever Jordan Walden.
Hernandez put a bunt down the first-base line on the game’s first pitch for a single, and Rollins followed with a double on the second pitch by Minor. They scored on Rupp’s single.
The Braves scored in the first on singles by Jason Heyward and Upton and a sacrifice fly by Freeman.
The Phillies held the 2-1 lead until the seventh, at which they looked like the team heading to the postseason and Braves looked anything but.
Hernandez opened with a single and took second on Walden’s wild pitch. Rollins singled again and Hernandez was initially held up at third, only to restart and scored when Gattis, a converted catcher, bobbled the ball in left.
Rollins took third when Walden’s pickoff throw sailed past Freeman at first base and toward the right-field corner. Domonic Brown’s RBI single made it 4-1, and Philadelphia added a run in the eighth on Chase Utley’s single.
The Braves made it close in the ninth when second baseman Elliot Johnson reached on a one-out single, pinch-hitter Jose Constanza followed with a single and Upton homered with two outs.
NOTES: Braves RHP Julio Teheran (13-8, 3.09 ERA) will start Sunday against 31-year-old journeyman Zach Miner (0-1, 3.08), who began his professional career in the Braves’ organization. ... Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said C Brian McCann’s strained adductor is improving, and he may get an at-bat or two Sunday. McCann has not played since leaving Thursday’s game after two innings with a strained right groin.