Braves lose, Nationals clinch first National League East title

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It didn’t happen exactly the way the Nationals would have drawn it up, but they’ll definitely take it.

The Braves fell 2-1 to the Pirates tonight, ensuring the Nationals their first-ever National League East title. The news of the Braves’ loss flashed on the scoreboard at Nationals Park after the top of the ninth inning, which was met with pandemonium in the stands and a celebration in the dugout. The Nationals ended up losing 2-0 to the Phillies, but it was almost secondary to the buzz in the air and in the dugout.

There will be playoff baseball in D.C. for the first time since 1933. As for the Braves, they will officially play in the one-game Wild Card playoff on Friday. The Cardinals currently hold a two-game lead over the Dodgers for the second Wild Card spot.

Rangers don’t plan to make qualifying offer to Adrián Beltré

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Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn’t expect the club to make a $17.9 million qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Adrián Beltré, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Daniels has been in touch with the 39-year-old, who may retire.

Beltré battled hip and hamstring issues throughout the past season, limiting him to 119 games. He hit .273/.328/.434 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI in 481 plate appearances. Going by adjusted OPS, his mark of 98 — 100 is average — was his lowest in a season since 2009 with the Mariners. Beltré’s career average is 116 and he put up a 132 in 2017 and 128 in ’16.

Beltré appears to have some stuff left in the tank. He may not be an All-Star-caliber player anymore, but he can still hit at an average level and he is still an above-average defender. It’s just a matter of his body holding up to allow him to do what he needs to do. If Beltré does decide to re-up with the Rangers for 2019, the club will be prepared to move Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Jurickson Profar over to the hot corner as they did in 2018 in the event Beltré gets bitten by the injury bug.