Nats Clinch Home-Field Advantage Through Playoffs

Playoffs start Sunday on the road

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Jayson Werth celebrates with Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond after Wednesday's 5-1 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.

    The NL East champion Washington Nationals secured home-field advantage throughout the postseason by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 Wednesday for their majors-high 98th victory.

    By winning their regular-season finale, the Nationals clinched top seeding for the NL playoffs but due to a scheduling quirk will open on the road Sunday at the winner of Friday's wild-card game between Atlanta and St. Louis. Game 2 will also be at the wild-card winner's stadium before the best-of-five series shifts to Washington.

    D.C. Police Ready for Nats Postseason Play

    [DC] D.C. Police Ready for Nats Postseason Play
    D.C. officials say the city's police force is prepared to handle the crowds during the upcoming Nationals playoff games.

    A team from the nation's capital hasn't participated in Major League Baseball action beyond the regular season since the Senators lost the 1933 World Series.

    All in all, it was a festive day for the announced crowd of 37,075 and the Nationals (98-64), a club that hadn't finished higher than third place since moving from Montreal in 2005 and twice lost 100 games in a season. This is the first time the Expos/Nationals franchise has finished first in a complete season.

    Edwin Jackson (10-11) became Washington's fifth pitcher with at least 10 wins, giving up one run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings. He left to a standing ovation, one of several on a muggy afternoon with the temperature in the 70s.

    Rookie Tyler Moore's solo shot in the sixth inning made him the seventh member of the Nationals with at least 10 homers this season.

    And then, of course, there was Teddy's triumph in the Presidents Race in the middle of the fourth inning, ending a losing streak that drew attention even from the White House press secretary and Sen. John McCain.

    The Nationals' very next batter, Ryan Zimmerman, led off the bottom of the fourth with his 25th homer, his team's first run off Cliff Lee (6-9).

    The hitter after that, Michael Morse, doubled and eventually scored, too. In the eighth, Morse added his 18th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Jonathan Papelbon that drew a curtain call.

    Lee, who finished with a losing record for the first time since 2007, departed after the sixth. He allowed eight hits and three runs, didn't walk a batter and struck out seven.

    In the eighth, Papelbon lost control of a breaking pitch that buzzed near Zimmerman's head, drawing boos from the stands. Papelbon wound up walking Zimmerman, who tipped his cap in reaction to loud cheers as he walked to the dugout, replaced on first base by pinch-runner Bryce Harper. Morse followed with a drive to right-center.

    The 19-year-old Harper and first baseman Adam LaRoche were out of the starting lineup -- getting a breather before the grind of the postseason begins.