WASHINGTON — Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings and the Nationals beat the Braves 4-0 to sweep a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, ensuring Atlanta will leave Washington without the NL East title.
Washington won the first game 6-5 in the makeup of a series opener postponed by a shooting rampage a day earlier at the nearby Navy Yard.
The Nationals have won 10 of 11 to move within 4½ games of the Reds for the NL's second wild-card berth. Washington has 11 games remaining.
The Braves have lost nine of 13 but still lead the division by eight games over the Nationals. Atlanta's magic number remained at four for clinching the NL East for the first time since its streak of 11 division titles from 1995-2005.
Ryan Zimmerman homered, Ian Desmond hit an RBI double and Adam LaRoche had an RBI single in the eighth inning of the nightcap. Steve Lomardozzi had a second-inning RBI single off Freddy Garcia.
Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel and slick-field shortstop Andrelton Simmons conspired to blow a three-run ninth-inning lead in the opener.
Kimbrel had converted 37 straight saves since early May, and advanced metrics show Simmons as easily the best defensive shortstop in baseball. But Simmons allowed a grounder by former Tampa Catholic standout Denard Span that glanced off Kimbrel to bounce through his legs as two runs scored on the game-ending play.
Before the games, both teams stood in front of their dugouts, heads bowed, and a color guard was stationed behind home plate during a minute of silence to pay tribute to the people killed Monday and those affected by the shootings.