A silver lining (Nats lose 12-2)

ST. LOUIS - Davey Johnson has waved the white flag tonight, emptying his bench with the Nationals trailing 9-1 in the middle innings.

But even with the blowout here in St. Louis, the Nats still can clinch the NL East title tomorrow night, thanks to the Mets.

The Braves lost to the Mets 3-1 tonight, cutting the Nationals' magic number to two. A Nats win and a Braves loss tomorrow, and the division title belongs to Washington.

See, you got something positive out of tonight.

For what it's worth, the pitching match-up in Atlanta tomorrow will pit Mike Minor against the Mets' Chris Young.

Here in St. Louis, Johnson has just two starters (Danny Espinosa and Michael Morse) still in the game here in the sixth inning, replacing Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki.

The Nats will take their beating, rest up and get ready to go for the division title tomorrow.

Update: Mercifully, this one has come to an end. The Nationals lose 12-2, meaning they would have to win out to get to 100 wins.

This is the most runs the Nats have allowed all season, and it's also the largest margin they've lost by this year.

The good news, again, is that the champagne will be in the building tomorrow with the division title within reach. That'll help relieve some of the sting from this pounding at the hands of the Cardinals.

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