By winning two of three against Washington to complete a successful homestand, the Atlanta Braves confirmed what already was obvious: The NL East race is over.
The Braves just can't officially announce it.
Before the Nationals series, Atlanta won two of three against Miami and Philadelphia in its longest homestand of the season. The Braves lead second-place Washington by 15 1/2 games and boast the majors' best record.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez rested several starters in Sunday's 2-1 win over Washington. That could be a preview of "B-team" lineups to come as he gives regulars occasional rest. But he doesn't want his team to relax.
Atlanta, which opens a two-game series at the Mets Tuesday, still has some big questions to answer in the final six weeks of the regular season.
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