Sep 30, 2012, 2:54 AM EST
Associated Press photo
Michael Morse is congratulated by Adam LaRoche following his unusual grand slam.
Updated at 12:55 a.m.
ST. LOUIS — The champagne was on site, stored away in crates out of view from the main room in the visitors clubhouse at Busch Stadium. So, too, were the plastic locker covers, the ones that can quickly be installed to prevent all that champagne from ruining clothes, jewelry and electronics.
The Nationals showed up Saturday afternoon prepared for a party, just in case events fell their way. But before their 6-4, 10-inning victory over the Cardinals was complete, they already knew there would be no celebration on this night. The Braves’ 2-0 win over the Mets kept the NL East race alive for at least one more day.
For the first time all season, though, the Nationals know they don’t need to count on Atlanta for anything else. Their magic number now down to 1, they need simply win one of their final four games to wrap up the division title and enter the postseason no worse than the NL’s No. 2 seed.
“I mean, it’s the best position you can be in,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position all year. I remember when we first started talking about this a month or a month-and-a-half ago. We did everything we could to give ourselves a chance, and now we’re to the ultimate position where we’ve given ourselves the best chance.”
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Winter Classic rink construction well underway at Nats Park
- Nats recall NLDS, watching Giants win World Series
- 'Baseball in the District' - Kurkjian, Zuckerman & Corcoran talk Nats
- How the Nats' trade impacts Desmond's future
- Nats trade Souza in 3-team deal, get Turner from Padres
- Report: Mets may not pitch Harvey vs. Nats on Opening Day
- Souza's name crops up in complex trade talks
- Clippard: 'I hope we all stay together for at least one more shot'
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo explains trading Detwiler; talks prospects
- Nats announce date pitchers and catchers will report to Viera