It took some help from the Philadelphia Phillies, who beat the New York Mets 10-8 tonight in Citi Field, but combined with their own 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Nationals clinched their third division title in the last five seasons.
Congratulations to the 2016 NL East division winning Washington Nationals!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dusty Baker talked to reporters before Friday night’s game about potentially clinching the NL East after starting the day with a magic number of two to get it done.
In the clubhouse, Baker explained, it was all business, with work to be done before anyone could start celebrating.
“There’s a calm, I think, in the clubhouse,” he said, “because half the guys in there have been through this before and some of the guys haven’t.
“The real excitement will probably come from the guys that haven’t been there before.
“But, this is a first step of a four-step process and it’s a giant step when you play 162 games in order to get there in the first place.”
That the Nationals were on the verge of their third division title in the last five years didn’t surprise the veteran skipper.
“I expected to be here,” Baker said. “Now our next step is to get to the next level.”
It’s something the Nationals haven’t done in the previous two postseason appearances, which were the first for a D.C.-based team since 1933.
They suffered a heartbreaking NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 in 2012 and had a disappointing showing in 2014 vs the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
There were a number of holdovers from those previous two division winners, and a few new faces in the clubhouse this time. They all got to celebrate tonight in the visitor’s clubhouse in PNC Park, as the Nationals beat the Pirates, 6-1, then waited to see if the Phillies could hold on against the Mets in Citi Field. They did, in spite of the fact that a 10-0 lead nearly evaporated.
Then it was time to celebrate in Pittsburgh!!!!!:
Just keep swimming ...— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 25, 2016
Just keep swimming ...
Just keep swimming ... pic.twitter.com/6U2tpuZmeC
"We drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring us the finest muffins and bagels in all the land." pic.twitter.com/1M9u9OUPCI— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 25, 2016
Next stop: OCTOBER!
Enjoy it, Nationals fans. And give a listen to tonight’s edition of Nats Nightly while you do!!!