WJTV News Channel 12 - Braves Clinch NL East Title

Braves Clinch NL East Title

Posted: Updated:

JAY COHEN

AP Sports Writer

           

CHICAGO (AP) - The Atlanta Braves clinched the NL East title on Sunday, and then rode two homers by Andrelton Simmons to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

           

The game was in the sixth inning when Washington lost 4-2 to Miami, giving the Braves their first division crown in eight years. There were a few high-fives in Atlanta's dugout when the Marlins won, and a couple of Braves fans did the tomahawk chop in the stands.

           

Manager Fredi Gonzalez high-fived a fan as he made his way to the dugout after a lineup change, and the celebration really picked up when Craig Kimbrel finished for his major league-best 49th save. The Braves poured out of the dugout and bullpen and jumped in a circle near the mound before retreating to the cramped visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field to continue the party.

           

Simmons hit a solo drive in the fourth and a two-run shot in the eighth, giving him 17 homers on the year.

           

Simmons' second career multihomer game was more than enough run support for Julio Teheran (13-8), who struck out seven over six innings of one-run ball.

           

The Cubs had a chance to tie it when they put runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Teheran managed to escape the jam despite a solid at-bat by Starlin Castro. Teheran needed 11 pitches to get Castro for a swinging strikeout, preserving Atlanta's 3-1 lead.

           

Freddie Freeman also hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who have won three of four. Freeman went got three hits and is batting .356 (26 for 73) with six homers and 17 RBIs in his last 20 games.

           

Freeman went deep in the first against Edwin Jackson (8-17), who allowed three runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander leads the majors with 17 losses in his first season with the Cubs.

           

Atlanta is headed to the playoffs for the second straight year and third time in four seasons. But it's the first division title for the Braves since 2005, when they won 90 games and then lost to Houston in the division series.

           

The Braves were the NL's top wild card a year ago, trying to make one more playoff run for Chipper Jones in the third baseman's final season. Those hopes were quickly dashed when they committed three errors in a 6-3 home loss to St. Louis in their only game of the 2012 postseason.

           

They won't have to worry about the wild-card game this year. The only question now is home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs, with Atlanta, Los Angeles and St. Louis in the mix for the league's best record.

           

It's quite the accomplishment for Gonzalez and the Braves, who were beset by injuries for much of the year. Veteran catcher Brian McCann missed the first month following offseason shoulder surgery. The outfield of Jason Heyward and brothers Justin and B.J. Upton all missed time. Second baseman Dan Uggla had eye surgery and pitcher Tim Hudson broke his right ankle in July, shelving the right-hander for the rest of the season.

           

Atlanta kept going the way it often does - with outstanding pitching. Teheran, Mike Minor and Kris Medlen helped anchor the rotation, while Kimbrel led the Braves' shutdown bullpen, which overcame injuries to left-handers Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to once again be among the majors' best relief corps.

           

Of course, the lineup had its share of key performances. Freeman blossomed into one of the majors' best first basemen, unheralded rookie Evan Gattis stepped up and Chris Johnson proved to be a more than adequate replacement for Jones at third. The free-swinging Braves lead the NL with 176 homers and are among the league leaders in strikeouts as well.

           

NOTES: The Braves went 5-1 against the Cubs this season ... Minor (13-7, 3.19 ERA) is slated to face Milwaukee RHP Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.26 ERA) when the Braves return home to open a three-game series against the Brewers on Monday. ... Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.42 ERA) faces Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.35 ERA) on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • VA: Man will get warning instead of $525 citation for $.89 drink refill

    VA: Man will get warning instead of $525 citation for $.89 drink refill

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:43:50 GMT
    Officials with the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston say a North Charleston man who was initially federally charged with a $525 fine for an $.89 drink refill will instead be given a warning.
    Officials with the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston say a North Charleston man who was initially federally charged with a $525 fine for an $.89 drink refill will instead be given a warning.
  • Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

    Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:11 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:11:45 GMT
    Chelsea Clinton says she and her husband are expecting their first child later this year.
    For the Clintons, 2014 is the year of the baby.
  • Sex offender arrested after being found at child day care center

    Sex offender arrested after being found at child day care center

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:30:22 GMT
    A man whose record indicates he's a violent sex offender, has been arrested after being found at Shining Star Family Center on Williamson Road.Police say James Marion Floyd the 4th has been charged with being present on the property of a child day care center during business hours, and with two counts of failing to register his address as a violent sex offender. Police arrested him on Tuesday.Shining Star Family Center is a religious-based child care facility that also offers dance lessons an...
    A man whose record indicates he's a violent sex offender, has been arrested after being found at Shining Star Family Center on Williamson Road.Police say James Marion Floyd the 4th has been charged with being present on the property of a child day care center during business hours, and with two counts of failing to register his address as a violent sex offender. Police arrested him on Tuesday.Shining Star Family Center is a religious-based child care facility that also offers dance lessons an...
Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.