- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - As the Washington Nationals’ first draft pick back in June 2005, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was there almost from the start, through the various last-place finishes and the consecutive 100-loss seasons.

He stuck around, signing a couple of long-term contracts, always convinced he would be a part of a winner one day.

That day finally arrived Monday night, when the Nationals clinched their first NL East title since moving from Montreal seven years ago.

Despite being beaten 2-0 by the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night, the Nationals earned the division championship, because the second-place Atlanta Braves lost 2-1 at the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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