Nationals shut out Braves and celebrate

Aaron Harang pitched well Tuesday, but like so many times before he got no run support from the Atlanta offense.

Washington shut out Atlanta Tuesday and clinched the N.L. East Division championship.

The Nationals scored two runs on a two-run blast by Ian Desmond in the 6th inning. They added an insurance run in the 9th inning on a wild pitch by David Carpenter that sailed off Christian Bethancourt’s glove to the backstop.

Atlanta again wasted another solid starting pitching performance with no run support. Aaron Harang allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, with two walks and eight strikeouts. His season ERA is now 3.68 and his record is now 11-11.

The Braves could muster only five hits on the night. Tanner Roark pitched well and got the win. He pitched seven shutout innings and allowed only four hits and no walks.

It’s the second division title in three years for the Nationals, who are now 87-63 and lead the Braves by 12.5 games in the NL East.

The Braves have lost five in a row and are now under .500 (75-76) for the first time since losing the first game of the season. They are 3-11 in September. They have scored only 33 runs in those 14 games. The Braves are 23-33 since the All-Star Break and 58-69 since the 17-7 start in April. There are 11 games left in the regular season.

For the season, the Braves have been shut out 14 times. They have scored only one run in 24 games. They are 4-20 in those games. So the Braves have scored less than two runs in 38 games (4-34). The Braves have scored two runs in a game 19 times (4-15). The Braves have scored less than three runs in 57 games, which is 37% of the season. They are 8-49 in those games.

The Braves are now 5.5 games back (six in the loss column) of the Pirates (80-70) for the second wildcard spot in the National League. The Braves might see their second celebration on their home field next week as the Pirates are in Atlanta for a four-game series that starts Monday.

Atlanta will wrap up the series with Washington Wednesday night. Alex Wood (10-10, 2.83) will pitch for the Braves against left-hander Gio Gonzalez (8-10, 3.79).

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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