Nationals clinch NL East despite loss to Phils
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - During Philadelphia's run of five consecutive NL East titles, the Washington Nationals watched as the Phillies celebrated winning division crowns on three occasions.
Despite losing by a 2-0 score, Washington returned the favor Monday night in front of their fans at Nationals Park.
A 2-1 loss by the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh cemented the Nationals as 2012 NL East champs. It's the franchise's first division title in 31 years, back when the club was known as the Montreal Expos.
"A lot of us have gone through the losing," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "To be in this position...is very satisfying."
The Phillies clinched in 2007, 2008 and 2010 in games against their divisional foes.
Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick (11-12) scattered four hits over seven strong innings and Darin Ruf supplied all the offense with a two-run triple in the second.
If the Phillies win at least one of their two remaining games, they'll finish above .500 for a franchise-best 10th straight season.
John Lannan (4-1) gave up two runs on six hits and three walks over five frames for the Nationals, who failed to get a hit in all eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Washington loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the second, but Lannan grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice.
The Nationals stranded a runner at third in the sixth and put two men on base in the eighth. However, Philadelphia's John Mayberry robbed Zimmerman by making a diving grab in center for the second out, and Jeremy Horst then struck out Adam LaRoche.
With the crowd aware of the outcome in Pittsburgh, they cheered loudly even though Phillippe Aumont retired the Nationals in order in the ninth for his second save.
"It made me mad," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of having to watch the Nationals clinch. "I'm a bad loser, and I always will be."
Kendrick tied his career high for wins ... Nationals reliever Craig Stammen recorded six strikeouts in his two innings of work ... Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins missed the game with an injured right calf.