PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Nationals clinched their third National League East title in five years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Saturday night behind 5 1/3 scoreless innings from rookie reliever Reynaldo Lopez. Stephen Drew's two-run single capped a three-run first inning for the Nationals, who return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Their win ensured a playoff berth, and they won the division about 20 minutes later when the second-place New York Mets lost to Philadelphia. Read more at SNY.tv. . . .
PITTSBURGH — Most of the Washington Nationals never liked the sight of Jose Fernandez, though most of them didn’t know him much personally. If they had, like Mat Latos or Gio Gonzalez did, they probably would have felt like those guys did — that everything you heard about Fernandez’s joy and enthusiasm and kindness was true. As it was, they were more familiar with his talent, with watching him dominate them start after start for parts of four major league seasons — and watching him thoroughly enjoy doing it. Tough as it was to appreciate at the time, many Nationals were left the same way many major leaguers were at news of Fernandez’s death Sunday morning: lost for words. “Yeah, it’s uh … yeah
The Chicago Cubs remain the unanimous No. 1 team, but there was a bit of a shakeup in the rest of the top five. The Boston Red Sox, riding an 11-game win streak, are the new No. 2 team, after getting all five votes for the second spot.