Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/1/12
WASHINGTON -- Darin Ruf's two-run triple in the second inning held up, and Kyle Kendrick earned his career-high 11th win as the Phillies blanked the Nationals, 2-0, Monday night. But it wasn't a completely bad night for Washington as the Nationals clinched the National League East anyway thanks to Atlanta's 2-1 loss to the Pirates. That's the team's first division title since arriving in Washington seven years ago. The stadium crowd burst out into celebration once news of the Atlanta loss was announced during the ninth inning. Fans began standing and cheering, holding up banners, and the players were laughing and smiling. They wanted the division title and not the wild-card -- and the Nationals finally got their wish. The Nationals now are hoping to earn the top spot in the National League playoffs and are battling with Cincinnati for that. Washington would get the tiebreaker if it finishes tied with the Reds. However, the Nationals couldn't find much offense on this night against Kendrick and three Phillies relievers. Washington finished with just five hits overall. Kendrick (11-12) gave up just four hits over seven innings and kept Washington (96-64) quiet for much of the game. Phillippe Aumont earned his second save by closing the game in the ninth. Even without Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins in their lineup, the Phillies were able to generate offense first, and that proved to be enough on this night. Washington starter John Lannan (4-1) struggled early, allowing the two-run triple to Ruf in the second inning to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Kendrick was able to battle through a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the second by getting Lannan to ground into force play. Philadelphia threatened again in the fourth when Ty Wigginton singled and Domonic Brown doubled to put men on second and third with one out. But after an intentional walk, first baseman Adam LaRoche grabbed Michael Martinez's grounder and quickly stepped on first and threw home to get Wigginton easily at the plate for Washington's third double play. Kendrick got the Nationals to hit the ball on the ground early as 11 of his first 12 outs were groundouts. He also was able to get LaRoche and Michael Morse called out on strikes to end scoring threats in the fifth and sixth innings. Nationals reliever Craig Stammen struck out six consecutive batters during his time on the mound. With Lannan's strikeout to end the fifth, the Nationals' matched a team record with seven consecutive strikeouts, but that didn't help them much on this night. NOTES: Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he would prefer to begin the postseason on Sunday, Oct. 7. If the Nationals clinch the division, they could also start on Saturday, Oct. 6. Johnson would like to have his 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez pitch Sunday on five days rest. The left-hander is listed as Tuesday's starter against the Phillies...Nationals' catcher Kurt Suzuki has started 10 straight games and Johnson said he will keep him in for the duration...The Phillies need one win in the series to guarantee a winning record in the regular season and a season series victory over the Nationals...Rollins (calf) and Howard (broken toe) were not in the starting lineup Monday.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Teddy Bridgewater to reportedly return in Week 10 at the earliest

Report: Jerry Jones was only voice of opposition at anthem meetings

Andrew Luck reportedly out until at least December

Josh Reddick excited to face Dodgers due to how he was treated by their fans

Report: Roger Goodell’s contract extension being held up by anthem debate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Aaron Rodgers could resume throwing in six weeks

Winners and losers of Astros' ALCS victory over Yankees

Steph Curry may face suspension for throwing mouthpiece at ref

Alex Cora reportedly getting three-year deal from Red Sox

Kristaps Porzingis wants to see changes from Knicks before committing long-term

Bobby Portis apologizes for role in Nikola Mirotic fight

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker