Nationals Clinch NL East Title With Braves' Loss To Pirates

The following sentiment is something I'm sure Washington sports fans never thought they'd extend: Thank you, Pittsburgh.

The Nationals did not defeat the Philadelphia Phillies Monday, but the Atlanta Braves' 2-1 loss to the Pirates gave the Nats their first-ever division title in D.C. and D.C. its first title in the Major Leagues since 1933. Philadelphia defeated Washington 2-0, but that didn't stop the latter from popping bottles of champagne in the locker room.

With the division wrapped up, the Nationals will now wait for their National League Division Series opponent to be determined. They could either face the Braves or St. Louis Cardinals, who will likely face each other in a one-game playoff Friday, or the San Francisco Giants. 

That depends on whether or not Washington finishes with the National League's best record. The Cincinnati Reds, who entered Monday tied with the Nationals for that distinction, lost 4-2 to the Cardinals to fall one game back. Washington holds the tiebreaker due to more head-to-head victories, so Cincinnati must finish with a better record to earn the No. 1 seed. 

Because of an odd scheduling quirk this year, the Nationals will begin their postseason debut on the road for the first two games. Games 3, 4 and 5 (4 and 5 if necessary) will be held at Nationals Park.

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