Nats clinch NL East in Pittsburgh 

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Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after clinching the National League East Division Championship after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park on September 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

By Michael Marzzacco

The Nats took down the Pirates 6-1 in Pittsburgh but held off for a little bit to catch the end of the Phillies-Mets game. The Mets trailed 10-0 and came back with eight unanswered runs before falling short and giving the Nationals their third National League East championship in five years.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever rooted for the Phillies so hard,” said former Met Daniel Murphy.
“I didn’t like a lot of these guys for a long time… To come together all of us, pulling in the same direction to accomplish a goal, it’s awesome. Words can’t explain how much fun this is.”

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The Washington Nationals celebrate after clinching the National League East Division Championship after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park on September 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Washington jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper to left field to score Trea Turner. Stephen Drew singled up the middle into centerfield to score Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon to give the Nats a 3-0 lead.

The Pirates got a run back in the bottom of the third but the Nats added three more in the fourth. Werth got to first on a fielder’s choice. Pirates shortstop Sean Rodriguez threw home but Danny Espinosa slid just in time. Harper drove in Brian Goodwin from third on a fielder’s choice on a double play attempt. Harper made it to first. Rendon hit a sac fly to left field to bring home Werth for the sixth run.

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The Washington Nationals celebrate after clinching the National League East Division Championship after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park on September 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

“It’s a necessary step. This is step one,” said Jayson Werth. “I think this is my eighth or ninth division title, and it never gets old . . . guys who haven’t done this, this means a lot to them. But this is just step one.”

The Nats and Pirates conclude their series this afternoon at 1:35.

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