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NATIONALS ENSURE PASS TO POSTSEASON
Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:50 PM EDT

The Washington Nationals used Ross Detwiler’s 6 strong innings and Ryan Zimmerman’s RBI double to lock up a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the L.A Dodgers.

The fans stood and cheered in the 9th inning, then got even louder when Drew Storen struck out Hanley Ramirez to finish it. Davey Johnson saluted the crowd as he left the field and the team wore caps and T-shirts acknowledging the playoff berth.

”I noticed like in the 5th or 6th, some signs, some different things that kind of keyed me into that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary evening,” Jayson Werth claimed.

”That wasn’t an ordinary win.”

Washington’s magic number to win the National League East was reduced to 8. The Washington Nationals lead idle Atlanta by 5 1/2 games. NFL lines

”We’ve been through a lot and lots of individuals in here have been thru plenty of not-good times and these are the beginning of hope for a lot of good times,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman is the only Nationals player to appear in each of the team’s 8 seasons.

The Nationals became the 2nd team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this year. Cincinnati sealed its slot earlier on in the day.

Washington was last in the postseason 79 years ago, when player-manager Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the N.Y Giants in 5 games in the World Series.

Until this year, the Nationals had never had a winning season – nor finished above 3rd place – since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season. It’ll be just the franchise’s 2nd postseason berth and its 1st since the Expos came within a game of the World Series in 1981.

The Nationals lost more than 100 games in both 2008 and 2009, allowing them to draft pitcher Stephen Strasburg and Harper.

The loss dropped the Dodgers 3 games behind St. Louis for the National League’s 2nd wild-card spot. Milwaukee moved before L.A with its win over Pirates.

Manager Don Mattingly concluded the team’s playoff probabilities dimmed after the Dodgers’ 10th loss in 4 games.

”You know, truthfully, it does. It feels like it is a bit, and I don’t believe there’s any way for us to take a look at it aside from that,” he revealed. ”I mean, it’s, yeah, we’re going the wrong direction.

”For us at about that point, we’re going to have to put a run together that’s going to be more than only win a series.”

Detwiler (10-6) allowed just Mark Ellis’ 4th-inning home run and 2 singles. Storen pitched the 9th for his 3rd save.

Zimmerman’s 3rd-inning double scored Harper with Washington’s 1st run. Zimmerman then took 3rd on an infield out and scored on a wild pitch by Chris Capuano (11-11).

The Nationals added 2 runs in the 4th on a walk to Ian Desmond, an RBI double by Danny Espinosa and a sacrifice fly by Kurt Suzuki.

Werth, who agreed a $126 million, 7-year agreement with the Nationals before the 2011 season, is most hot for the postseason to start.


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