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Nats win the NL East, return to the playoffs after year absence

Washington is headed to the postseason for the third time in franchise history, the first time since 2012.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals captured the National League East title with their 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Ian Desmond went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double, and Tanner Roark tossed seven scoreless innings in the clincher. The Nationals became the first NL team to secure a playoff berth and the second overall, joining the Angels, who clinched on Monday.

The Nats will make their second postseason appearance since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington prior to the 2005 season, and just the third overall in their 46 years of existence. The Nationals reached the playoffs after winning 98 games in 2012, 31 years after the Expos snuck into the postseason during the strike-shortened 1981 campaign.

Another strike 13 years later cut short perhaps the best season in franchise history. The Expos led the NL East with a 74-40 record when a work stoppage commenced on Aug. 11, 1994. The rest of the season and postseason were canceled shortly thereafter.