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L.A. Dodgers (77-73)000100000141
Washington (91-58) «00220000x471

Nats top Dodgers, clinch playoffs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- As Davey Johnson walked into the interview room to talk about Washington's return to postseason baseball for the first time since 1933, fans gathered in an adjoining restaurant began to applaud.

"What's the big deal?" Johnson joked.

The Nationals used Ross Detwiler's six strong innings and Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double to lock up a playoff spot Thursday night with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Nats Clinch" flashed on the scoreboard as Washington ensured at least an NL wild-card spot, delighting the crowd of 30,359.

"That was fun, but it's not what I had my eye on," Johnson said. "I don't want this."

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The fans stood and cheered in the ninth inning, then got even louder when Drew Storen struck out Hanley Ramirez to end it. Johnson saluted the crowd as he left the field and the team wore caps and T-shirts acknowledging the playoff berth.

"I noticed like in the fifth or sixth, some signs, some different things that kind of keyed me into that this wasn't going to be an ordinary evening," Jayson Werth said.

"That was not an ordinary win."

Nineteen-year-old center fielder Bryce Harper claimed ignorance of the team's situation.

"Everyone's going crazy. I looked at the fireworks and I go: 'I guess we just did something.' Then somebody handed me the playoff shirt and playoff hat and I said, 'Well, I guess we're going to the playoffs,"' Harper said.

Washington's magic number to win the NL East was reduced to eight. The Nationals lead idle Atlanta by 5 1/2 games.

"We've been through a lot and a lot of us in here have been through a lot of not-good times and these are the beginning of hope for a lot of good times," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman is the only Nationals player to appear in each of the team's eight seasons.

"It's a first step, and it's a long ways to go," he said.

The Nationals became the second team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this year. Cincinnati sealed its slot earlier in the day.

They celebrated with a private champagne toast. No spraying and no protective plastic over their lockers.

"I think there was some talk about not celebrating at all, but I kind of talked them out of that," Werth said.

"The next one would not be as subdued, I would imagine," Zimmerman said.

Washington was last in the postseason 79 years ago, when player-manager Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games in the World Series.

"I can't remember that year," Johnson said with a laugh.

Until this year, the Nationals had never had a winning season - nor finished above third place -- since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season. It will be just the franchise's second postseason berth and its first since the Expos came within a game of the World Series in 1981.

The Nationals lost more than 100 games in both 2008 and 2009, allowing them to draft pitcher Stephen Strasburg and Harper.

The loss dropped the Dodgers three games behind St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot. Milwaukee moved ahead of Los Angeles with its win over Pittsburgh.

Manager Don Mattingly agreed the team's playoff chances dimmed after the Dodgers' 10th loss in 14 games.

"You know, honestly, it does. It feels like it is a little bit, and I don't think there's any way for us to look at it other than that," he said. "I mean, it's, yeah, we're going the wrong direction.

"For us at this point, we're going to have to put a run together that's going to be more than just win a series."

Detwiler (10-6) allowed just Mark Ellis' fourth-inning home run and two singles. Storen pitched the ninth for his third save.

Zimmerman's third-inning double scored Harper with Washington's first run. Zimmerman then took third on an infield out and scored on a wild pitch by Chris Capuano (11-11).

The Nationals added two runs in the fourth on a walk to Ian Desmond, an RBI double by Danny Espinosa and a sacrifice fly by Kurt Suzuki.

Werth, who signed a $126 million, seven-year deal with the Nationals before the 2011 season, is most eager for the postseason to begin.

"I've got a lot to prove. I've got a lot of people to prove wrong, and I can't wait," Werth said.

Notes

  • Mattingly said that LHP Clayton Kershaw was continuing with his throwing program. Kershaw will have to demonstrate he's free from pain in his right hip before he'll be able to pitch again, the manager said.
  • Johnson said RHP Chien-Ming Wang will start on Sunday. Wang hasn't started since June 19. He missed nearly two months with a right hip injury.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth are all smiles after the Nationals defeat the Dodgers to clinch a playoff spot.  (US Presswire)
Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth are all smiles after the Nationals defeat the Dodgers to clinch a playoff spot. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Washington

R. Detwiler
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 5
Los Angeles

M. Ellis
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Mark Ellis, 2B4111012 .265
Shane Victorino, LF4000012 .250
Matt Kemp, CF4010020 .303
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4010012 .290
Hanley Ramirez, SS4000021 .252
Andre Ethier, RF3000010 .286
Luis Cruz, 3B3000011 .297
A.J. Ellis, C3000010 .266
Chris Capuano, P1000000 .100
   a- Elian Herrera, PH0000100 .249
    Jamey Wright, P0000000 .000
    Steven Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Kenley Jansen, P0000000 .000
   b- Bobby Abreu, PH1010000 .239
    Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
    Shawn Tolleson, P0000000 .000
Totals31141110  
a-walked for Capuano in the 6th
b-singled for Jansen in the 8th
Batting
HR - Mark Ellis (7, Detwiler)
RBI - Mark Ellis (30)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Hanley Ramirez (15, Throwing)
Los Angeles Dodgers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Capuano (L,11-11) 5643130 3.65
Jamey Wright 1100000 3.38
Steven Rodriguez 0.2000120 2.08
Kenley Jansen 0.1000000 2.53
Randy Choate 0.1000000 3.11
Shawn Tolleson 0.2000020 4.32
WP - Chris Capuano (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Capuano 83-53, Jamey Wright 13-8, Steven Rodriguez 15-9, Kenley Jansen 3-2, Randy Choate 2-2, Shawn Tolleson 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Capuano 3-9, Jamey Wright 1-2, Kenley Jansen 1-0, Randy Choate 1-0
Batters Faced - Chris Capuano 22, Jamey Wright 4, Steven Rodriguez 3, Kenley Jansen 1, Randy Choate 1, Shawn Tolleson 2
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jayson Werth, RF3020100 .300
Bryce Harper, CF4100013 .260
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4111002 .284
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000022 .268
Michael Morse, LF4010010 .287
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
Ian Desmond, SS3120110 .296
Danny Espinosa, 2B3111003 .253
Kurt Suzuki, C2001003 .229
Ross Detwiler, P2000012 .047
    Christian Garcia, P0000000 .000
   a- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH1000010 .278
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
    Roger Bernadina, LF0000000 .296
Totals3047327  
a-struck out for Garcia in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (33, Capuano), Danny Espinosa (35, Capuano)
SF - Kurt Suzuki (5)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (86), Danny Espinosa (53), Kurt Suzuki (36)
SB - Jayson Werth 2 (7, 2nd base off Capuano/Ellis, 2nd base off Jansen/Ellis), Ian Desmond (18, 2nd base off Wright/Ellis)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Detwiler-Desmond-LaRoche
E - Ryan Zimmerman (18, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ross Detwiler (W,10-6) 6311151 3.10
Christian Garcia (H,3) 1000020 1.29
Ryan Mattheus (H,15) 1100000 2.49
Drew Storen (S,3) 1000030 2.59
Pitches-Strikes - Ross Detwiler 82-52, Christian Garcia 15-10, Ryan Mattheus 13-10, Drew Storen 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Detwiler 6-7, Christian Garcia 1-0, Ryan Mattheus 1-2
Batters Faced - Ross Detwiler 22, Christian Garcia 3, Ryan Mattheus 4, Drew Storen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30359
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Al Porter