- Associated Press - Sunday, October 3, 2010

ATLANTA | The Atlanta Braves reached the playoffs as the NL wild-card team, a first for manager Bobby Cox.

Tim Hudson and the Braves took a six-run lead, then held on for an 8-7 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

After beating the Phillies, the Braves watched on TV in their clubhouse as San Francisco beat San Diego 3-0, giving the Braves the NL wild card by one game over San Diego.

Atlanta will start the playoffs Thursday at NL West champion in the opener of a best-of-five series.

The Braves won 14 straight division titles with Cox but had missed the playoffs since 2005.

There was a postgame REO Speedwagon concert at Turner Field, and a few hundred fans remained after the concert to watch the Giants’ win on the video board. They chanted and cheered after the final out as bubbly was sprayed in the Braves‘ clubhouse.

The fans began chanting “Bobby! Bobby!” while watching the celebration begin.

Cox had compliments for his team.

“We try hard,” said Cox, who is retiring after this season. “This team is the hardest-working, hardest-trying team we’ve ever had here.”

Cox’s final regular-season record was 2,504-2,001. He ranks fourth in wins, trailing only Connie Mack (3,776), John McGraw (2,840) and Tony La Russa (2,638). This is Cox’s 15th season with 90 or more wins, second to only McGraw.

Cox also had 158 regular-season ejections, easily surpassing McGraw (117) for the most among managers.

Atlanta recovered after 11-5 and 7-0 losses in the first two games of the series with the Phillies.

Hudson (17-9) allowed four runs and two hits in seven innings against the NL East champions, giving up two-run homers by John Mayberry in the third and Jayson Werth in the seventh.

Billy Wagner struggled in the Phillies‘ three-run eighth but recovered with a perfect ninth.

“It’s a relief because you get a tomorrow,” Wagner said. “We knew we had to win the game. We knew what was at stake.”

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