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09/14/11 6:23 PM ET

Phillies all business after punching playoff ticket

HOUSTON -- There were no wild celebrations; no dog piles on the field, no flowing of champagne, no media equipment covered in protective plastic. That the Phillies clinched a fifth consecutive playoff appearance on Wednesday was no cause for extraordinary merriment in the postgame clubhouse.

The Phillies don't pop their corks at merely clinching a playoff spot. Having been there before -- and with much bigger goals and expectations -- it was more a business-as-usual atmosphere that greeted the media in the aftermath of the Phillies' 1-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"The important thing is to get the home-field advantage," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I feel good about [the fifth consecutive playoff appearance]. I feel good about the players and the organization."

First Clinchers
The Phillies are the first team into the 2011 Major League Baseball postseason. In the previous 15 years of expanded eight-team postseasons, the club with that distinction won it all three times. Here is a year-by-year look at who clinched first and how they finished:
Year Team Clincher Finish
2010 Twins 9/21 Lost ALDS
2009 Yankees 9/22 Won World Series
2008 Angels 9/10 Lost ALDS
2007 Red Sox 9/22 Won World Series
2006 Mets 9/18 Lost World Series
2005 Cardinals 9/15 Lost NLCS
2004 Cardinals 9/18 Lost World Series
2003 Braves 9/16 Lost NLDS
2002 Braves 9/9 Lost NLDS
2001 Mariners 9/3 Lost ALCS
2000 Cardinals 9/20 Lost NLCS
1999 Indians 9/8 Lost ALDS
1998 Yankees 8/30 Won World Series
1997 Orioles 9/15 Lost ALCS
1996 Indians 9/17 Lost ALDS
1995 Indians 9/8 Lost World Series
Source: Elias Sports

"I know we're excited to get to the postseason, but at the same time we've got a bunch of teams still breathing down our necks," pitcher Cole Hamels added in reference to the prospects of winning a fifth consecutive National League East title.

"It's not said and done until it's said and done. We've got a lot of games and we just have to play at our best. It's not going to be easy."

The magic number is down to four for reaching that goal. And then the bubbly will spray and the Phillies can begin to think about a second World Series championship in four seasons.

Philadelphia is the first team to have punched its ticket to October, and that impressed center fielder Shane Victorino.

"That's a testament to the team, it's a testament to how hard we've worked and how far we've come," Victorino said. "We've got to keep working. We can't get complacent. We plan on going deep into October."

First baseman Ryan Howard reiterated that clinching a playoff spot is only the first step.

"We haven't done anything by clinching a playoff spot," Howard said. "We just gave ourselves an opportunity to reach that team goal. You try to take it step by step. You don't want to go and overly celebrate because we clinched a playoff spot. This is just a part of the goal."

Still, it is an exciting time for the Phillies organization.

"I'm excited about it," said Roy Halladay, who fired his first shutout of the season on Wednesday. "The important thing is to finish what we have left and go from there."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.