For the last two months, the empty blue seats at Citizens Bank Park were difficult to ignore. They stood out brighter than the red pennants that fly above Ashburn Alley at the nine-year-old ballpark.

But after the Philadelphia Phillies had won five straight division titles, two NL pennants and a World Series title in the last four seasons, all of those tickets were sold through the first five months of the 2012 season. At least until Monday night.

The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves 6-1 before an announced crowd of 41,665 at Citizens Bank Park. The ballpark was 1,986 fans short of a sellout.

It was the first time the ballpark was not filled to capacity since July 6, 2009. Monday marked the end of a 257-game sellout streak, the longest in National League history and the third longest in the history of Major League Baseball.

"You kind of knew it was going to happen," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "You would hope that it wouldn't. You would hope that one bad season wouldn't break it up. Especially after the five winning seasons that we had and division championships. But that's the way it goes. People aren't gonna spend money and come to the game if they don't feel they're getting their money's worth. And this year we've been a little short."

The sellout streak ended on a day when the Phils moved back into a tie for last place, a place they've called home for the majority of a highly disappointing season in South Philly. After winning a franchise-record 102 games in 2011, the Phils lost their 60th game on Monday night, matching their loss total from the previous season with nearly two months of games still to play.

"I'm sorry because we didn't sell out," manager Charlie Manuel said, "but that just goes to show you what kind of season we've had."

Despite the end of the streak, the Phils entered Monday leading all of baseball in average attendance (44,661) and ranked third, behind only the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, in overall attendance this season.

"The number of sellouts could not have been possible without the tremendous loyalty of our fans who continue to lead all of Major League Baseball in average attendance this year," team president David Montgomery said in a statement.