Zimmerman, Nationals win NL East championship

By HOWARD FENDRICH | October 2, 2012 | 5:34 AM EDT

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, center fielder Bryce Harper, starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and left fielder Michael Morse celebrate with teammates after clinching the National League East division title following their 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in a baseball game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Washington Nationals' first draft pick back in June 2005, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was there almost from the start, through the various last-place finishes and the consecutive 100-loss seasons.

He stuck around, signing a couple of long-term contracts, always convinced he would be a part of a winner one day.

That day finally arrived Monday night, when the Nationals clinched their first NL East title since moving from Montreal seven years ago.

Despite being beaten 2-0 by the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night, the Nationals earned the division championship, because the second-place Atlanta Braves lost 2-1 at the Pittsburgh Pirates.


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