Washington Nationals win NL East with Braves loss

Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

With the Pittsburgh Pirates' win over the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East title for the first time since the Montreal Expos did it in 1981.

The Washington Nationals wrapped up the National League East division Monday night when the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Atlanta Braves, 2-1.

The Nats lost to the Philadelphia Phillies shortly thereafter, but it mattered not, as the Braves' loss secured the division title for Washington, a team that lost 103 games just three seasons prior.

The Nationals' division title means the playoffs will return to Washington, D.C., for the first time since 1933. It also marks the first time the Nationals/Expos franchise has won the NL East since 1981.

The Braves already have clinched a wildcard berth.

Starling Marte hit a solo homer in the fifth inning off of Atlanta starter Paul Maholm to break a 1-1 tie. The Braves scored first on a Jason Heyward single, but that was all Atlanta could do as Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke allowed just two hits in six innings. The Pirates' bullpen threw three scoreless innings to end the Braves' hopes of an NL East crown.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies shut out the Nationals. Kyle Kendrick threw seven strong innings, allowing four hits as they made a Darin Ruf 2-run triple in the second hold up.

The Nationals are still in a battle with the Reds for home-field advantage in the National League. Both teams entered Monday's action at 96-63.

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