The Atlanta Braves’ era at Turner Field has come to an end after 20 seasons, and along with it, the Detroit Tigers’ chance at the postseason.

Braves Beat Tigers 1-0 In Final Game At Turner Field, Bring Out Former Stars

Julio Teheran recorded 12 strikeouts to lead the Braves to a 1-0 home victory over the Tigers on Sunday, thus eliminating Detroit from playoff contention.

The Tigers needed a win Sunday, along with a loss from either the Blue Jays or Orioles to prolong their season in hopes of securing an American League Wild Card spot. Teheran’s 12 strikeouts tied his season high, one day after Atlanta rookie starter Aaron Blair struck out a career-best 10 Tigers over six innings.

“I know he’s very tough on right-handed hitters,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Teheran, “and unfortunately we’re a right-handed lineup. But we have good right-handed hitters. He had his stuff working today. Really, the story was him.”

Freddie Freeman hit a sacrifice fly to center field that plated Ender Inciarte to open the scoring in the first inning. Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander struck out eight over seven innings, finishing his season with a 3.04 ERA. It was the Tigers’ third 1-0 loss this season with Verlander on the mound.

“There was a lot of pitching and a lot of history in this ballpark,” Freeman said. “For it to go down as a 1-0 game between Julio and Verlander, that was a fitting ending for this ballpark.”

A sellout crowd of about 50,000 turned out for the historic game. One man named Walter Banks, who has worked as an usher for the Braves for 51 seasons, couldn’t help but get emotional.

“You save the best to the last,” he said. “No matter if they win, lose or draw, you’ll always remember this day.”

Banks wore a Braves jersey with No. 51 on the back, thus marking  his seasons of service with the team since its move from Milwaukee in 1966. The Braves will be moving to a new stadium, SunTrust Park, in the suburbs (Cumberland area), next season.

Branks was present for the team’s final game at its previous home in 1996. The following year, the Braves moved next door to Turner Field, which began functioning as the main stadium for the Atlanta Olympics before it was converted into a baseball park.

The Braves marked the final game at the ballpark affectionately nicknamed “the Ted”– a nod to its namesake and former Braves owner Ted Turner–with a rousing pre-game ceremony honoring their all-time Turner Field team.

One by one, the legends walked in through an opening in the center-field wall, starting with Chipper Jones. He took his former position at third base, followed by shortstop Rafael Furcal, second baseman Marcus Giles, first baseman Adam LaRoche, left fielder Brian Jordan, center fielder Andruw Jones, right fielder Gary Sheffield and catcher Javy Lopez.

Finally, all three all-time pitchers walked in. Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz trotted out together in their familiar Braves jerseys, as the crowd’s cheers reached their peak. They anchored the team through much of its unprecedented run of 14 straight division titles, the last nine of which came after the move to Turner Field.

Maxxux, Glavine and Smoltz were fittingly awarded the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitches in unison. They were joined on the mound by another Hall of Famer, former Braves manager Bobby Cox. 

A massive American flag was displayed across the outfield during the national anthem, which was capped off by two military jets roaring overhead.

Turner Field is barely older than Braves rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson, who was born in 1994 in suburban Kennesaw and has fond memories of cheering on the Braves as a child.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” Swanson said. “This was pretty much my whole life, what I can remember. You can’t really put it into words. I don’t know if I’ve even allowed myself to think about what’s going on today and this whole year.”

The Braves won their final series of the season 2-1. They defeated the Tigers 5-3 on Saturday, but lost 6-2 on Friday.

With Detroit’s loss, Cleveland’s win at Kansas City and Toronto’s win over Boston, the Tigers and Indians do not have to make up last Thursday’s rainout at Comerica Park. Thus, the Tigers season is over. Detroit will open the 2017 season April 3 against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Braves will open the 2017 season April 3 against the Mets at Citi Field. They will open SunTrust Park with an April 14 game against the Padres.

ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 02: Former Atlanta Braves players Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux are introduced as members of the All Turner Field Team prior to the game at Turner Field on October 2, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

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