Braves Lose to Pirates; Nats Clinch NL East

6:52 AM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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Right fielder Jason Heyward walks back to the dugout after striking out Tuesday. The Phillies won, 7-1.

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Starling Marte's solo home run in the fifth inning proved to be the difference on Monday as the Pittsburgh Pirates knocked off the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, in the opener of the final regular-season series for both teams.

The Braves' loss cemented the Nationals as 2012 NL East champs. It's the franchise's first division title in 31 years, back when the club was known as the Montreal Expos.

Marte finished with two hits and two runs scored and Chase d'Arnaud added an RBI groundout for the Pirates, who had lost four of their last five coming in.

Jeff Locke (1-3) allowed a run on just two hits with six strikeouts over six innings. He struggled with his command a bit, walking five hitters, but did enough to earn his first career win.

Jason Heyward knocked in the run for the Braves, who have won seven of their last nine, but were eliminated from the race for the National League East crown with the setback.

Paul Maholm (13-11) pitched seven strong innings, but allowed two runs on five hits and three walks to take the loss.


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