Desmond and Roark lift Nationals past Braves for NL East crown

The Nationals have done it again. For the second time in three seasons, after a 3-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals have won the National League East. They become the first team to clinch a division title and a playoff berth in the 2014 major league postseason, and they were able to win the pennant on Atlanta's home turf of Turner Field. Ian Desmond smacked a towering two-run homer and Tanner Roark (14-10) twirled seven shutout innings as Washington eliminated Atlanta from the division race. It was their second straight series win over the Braves after they had dropped the first four series of the season against their rivals. The Nationals lost seven of their first eight meetings against the Braves. Since June 20, they have won seven of their last 10 contests against Atlanta, erasing the early season trouble they had with winning teams. Roark allowed only five hits, no runs, no walks and struck out four. He stayed with the Braves' Aaron Harang, who went six scoreless innings before Desmond's sixth-inning blast. It was Desmond's 23rd homer of the season and came after a Jayson Werth walk. Desmond also scored a run in the ninth on a wild pitch. Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless eighth. Drew Storen notched his seventh save with a 1-2-3 ninth. Storen got Andrelton Simmons on a grounder back to the mound, Freddie Freeman on a grounder to Desmond and Justin Upton on a grounder to second. The Nationals defeated last season's division champions in a season that got off to a fairly slow start with injuries to Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. Scott Hairston, Adam LaRoche, Denard Span, Gio Gonzalez and others also missed time due to injuries. The Nationals have now won 87 games this season. That is a three-year total of 271 victories and already surpasses last year's win total of 86. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 12 1/2-game lead over the Braves is the largest division lead ever for a D.C.-based team.

Some quotes from the AL East champions' clubhouse
AL East champs: O's beat Toronto and are headed ba...

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