Postgame analysis of the Nats' 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night at PNC Park.
How it happened: No more magic numbers. No more scoreboard watching. The Nationals can finally pop champagne.
With a win over the Pirates and a New York Mets' loss to the Phillies, Washington claimed its third National League East championship in the last five seasons. Though the accomplishment seemed inevitable over the last few weeks, Dusty Baker and company will undoubtedly savor the moment before they rev up for October.
As for the game itself, the Nats didn't waste much time jumping out in front. They took a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a Bryce Harper sac fly and a Stephen Drew two-RBI single. The offense took advantage of the Pirates shoddy defense in the fourth, scoring three times after a pair of throwing errors.
From there, the combination of Joe Ross and Reynaldo Lopez kept the Pirates offense at bay all night long. The duo yielded one earned run over eight-plus innings of work before Dusty Baker called on Marc Rzepczynski and Blake Treinen to get the final outs.
What it means: With the division title in hand, the Nats can start gearing up for the playoffs over the next week. That means securing home field advantage over likely postseason opponent Los Angeles Dodgers, identifying a third starter and making sure key players get rest if they need it.
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