Nationals clinch winning record for first time since moving to D.C.

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The Nationals topped the Cubs 2-1 this afternoon at Nationals Park for their 82nd victory of the season. This guarantees them their first winning record since moving from Montreal to D.C. for the 2005 season. The club went 81-81 in their first season in D.C. and 80-81 last year.

Ross Detwiler was excellent this afternoon, holding the Cubs to just four hits over seven shutout innings. Drew Storen pitched a scoreless eighth inning while closer Tyler Clippard danced around an RBI single by Welington Castillo in the ninth to lock down his 30th save of the season. Adam LaRoche launched his 25th home run of the season in the win while Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI double.

At 82-52, the Nationals currently own the best record in baseball and hold a 6 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the National League East. There’s officially winning baseball in D.C. for the first time since the Washington Senators went 86-76 in 1969.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.