ST. LOUIS - The Nationals will not clinch the National League East title tonight, regardless of what happens here at Busch Stadium.
The Braves have just put the finishing touches on a 2-0 win over the Mets down in Atlanta, meaning that even with a win over the Cardinals tonight, the Nationals’ magic number will only be cut to one.
They’ll have to wait until tomorrow, at the earliest, to wrap up the division title.
The Mets threatened in the ninth against Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, but the Cy Young candidate struck out Lucas Duda looking to end the game and mathematically keep the Braves in it for the division.
Here in St. Louis, the Nats are now clinging to a 4-3 lead after the Cardinals struck for three runs in the seventh inning.
Jordan Zimmermann got into some trouble after Davey Johnson allowed him to start the seventh inning sitting on 93 pitches. He retired the first batter, then gave up three straight hits and a walk to make it 4-2.
Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen are lined up to work the last two frames of this one. The Nats can’t clinch tonight, but with a win, they can ensure that another victory tomorrow in the series finale gets them the NL East crown.
Update: Storen blew his first save of the season, allowing a game-tying sacrifice fly off the bat of Jon Jay with one out in the ninth to knot the score 4-4 here at Busch Stadium.
Storen gave up back-to-back groundball singles to put runners at the corners, then gave Jay a pitch he could drive to deep center, scoring Pete Kozma to tie the game.
The Nationals have scored just nine runs after the second inning over their last five games, and their lack of tack-on runs hurt them tonight. They haven’t scored since Michael Morse’s first-inning grand slam tonight.
We head to extras.
Update II: The Cardinals intentionally walked Danny Espinosa to get to Kurt Suzuki with two outs in the 10th inning, and Suzuki made them pay. The Nationals’ catcher laced a two-run double to left-center, giving the Nats a 6-4 lead they would not relinquish.
Craig Stammen closed it out in the bottom of the 10th for his first career save.
With the win, the Nationals’ magic number is now one. A win or a Braves loss tomorrow, and the division title comes to Washington.