Nationals clinch first division title in Washington's baseball history

Jayson Werth and the Nationals celebrate their NL East title. (US Presswire)

For the first time in baseball history, a division title rests in our nation's capital.

With the Braves' loss to the Pirates on Monday, the Nationals have clinched the National League East. Sure, it's only the 11th season played under divisional play by a team in that has called Washington, D.C., home, but it's still something. In addition to D.C.'s first division winner, it's the first time the franchise that began as the Montreal Expos has won a division.

The Expos have two big asterisks on that account, advancing to the playoffs in the strike-shortened 1981 season. Montreal finished first in the second half of the season, but second overall. The Expos defeated the first-half NL East champion Phillies in the division series, before losing to the Dodgers in the NLCS.

Montreal may have had the best team in baseball in 1994, leading the NL East by six games when the strike canceled the rest of the season and the postseason.

As for baseball in Washington, the Nationals moved from Montreal for the 2005 season, but the franchise that is now the Texas Rangers played three seasons as the Washington Senators until 1971. The team had three seasons in Washington during the divisional era. That incarnation of the Senators never finished higher than fourth in the three years of divisional play, or sixth of 10 in its eight seasons prior to divisional play. The previous Senators franchise, which is now the Twins, won the American League pennant in 1924, 1925 and 1933.

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