WASHINGTON — The final out burrowed into catcher Kurt Suzuki’s mitt and closed a chapter in Washington’s baseball history. The slider thrown by Drew Storen to strike out Hanley Ramirez on Wednesday night ended the woebegone era, when this city was forced to either watch a terrible team or dream of actually having one. The scoreboard at Nationals Park flashed “NATS CLINCH” in huge, white block letters. The 30,359 fans exulted. The players lined up and shook hands.
The Nationals’ 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers had clinched Washington’s first postseason in 79 years, but the players chose not to party like it’s 1933. For them, clinching a wild-card berth served only as a necessary step to reach their intended mission, nothing more. Ross Detwiler’s six dominant innings, an opportunistic offense and three innings of shutdown relief added up to just another win for them.