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Sunday, September 22, 2013
Braves clinch NL East crown

ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- The Atlanta Braves have clinched their first NL East title in eight years.

Atlanta was leading the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in the sixth inning at Wrigley Field when second-place Washington lost 4-2 to Miami, handing the Braves their second consecutive playoff appearance. Atlanta lost 6-3 to St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card game last season.

It's the first division title for manager Fredi Gonzalez since he took over in Atlanta before the 2011 season. He has led the Braves to at least 89 wins in each of his three years at the helm.

Atlanta had a chance to secure the title on Saturday, but Chicago rallied for a 3-1 victory. Then Washington's game against Miami was postponed by rain, pushing any chance for a celebration to Sunday afternoon.

Also, the St. Louis Cardinals have clinched a playoff spot for the third straight year.

Washington's loss assured the Cardinals of at least an NL wild-card berth.

St. Louis began the day with a two-game NL Central lead over second-place Pittsburgh and a three-game margin over Cincinnati. The Cardinals played Sunday night at Milwaukee.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.