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Date of game: 9/16/2014

Recap: Atlanta vs. Washington

Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Nationals captured the NL East title on Tuesday and did so on the defending division champions' soil.

Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer, Tanner Roark tossed seven scoreless innings and the Nationals bested the plummeting Atlanta Braves, 3-0, at Turner Field.

Roark (14-10) was stellar in helping Washington win its second division crown in three years. The second-year starter scattered five hits -- all singles -- and did not issue a walk.

This is the earliest a team from the nation's capital has earned a playoff berth. The 1933 Washington Senators clinched on Sept. 21.

"We've got the pitching, the depth, the bullpen to do what we need to do," Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said. "We need to keep it going ...through October."

The only mistake Aaron Harang made all night was a hanging offspeed pitch that Desmond annihilated halfway up the seats in left field in the sixth.

Harang (11-11) was otherwise solid, striking out eight and allowing just five hits and two walks over his seven-inning start.

Atlanta's offense, however, was shut out for the second time during an inopportune 1-8 stretch that has dropped the club 5 1/2 games behind the Pirates for the NL's second wild card spot.

"There's still a chance for the wild card. We just have to go out and try and win every game," Braves outfielder B.J. Upton said.

Roark retired the final six hitters he faced, Tyler Clippard tossed a perfect eighth, and after Desmond doubled and scored on a David Carpenter wild pitch in the ninth, Drew Storen finished off the clincher with his seventh save.

Justin Upton grounded out weakly to second for the final out, and the Nationals' bench emptied onto the field before taking the celebration to the clubhouse.

Game Notes

Washington has homered in 21 consecutive road games, three shy of matching the MLB record ... The Nationals have been in sole possession of first place since July 21 ... Harang was 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts vs. the Nats this year ... Braves first Freddie Freeman went hitless in four at-bats, snapping his 11-game hitting streak ... The finale of this three-game series will see Washington's Gio Gonzalez square off against fellow lefty Alex Wood.

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