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Around the NL East: Mets claim first division title since '06

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Around the NL East: Mets claim first division title since '06

ATLANTA BRAVES  

The good news for the Braves is that they managed to avoid a 100-loss season. The bad news? 2015 has been their worst campaign since 1990. As Atlanta heads into the offseason, there is plenty of work ahead for John Hart and John Coppolella. The front office has been creative in acquiring young pitching, but this rotation is more than one arm away from being playoff-ready. In addition, the lineup is in dire need of some help: Atlanta's offense is ranked dead last in runs (561) and slugging percentage (.358).

MIAMI MARLINS  

The Marlins announced earlier this week that Giancarlo Stanton, who suffered a fractured left wrist hamate June 28, is indeed shut down for the rest of the season. The original timeline called for the slugger's return about 4-6 weeks after the injury, but he had several setbacks on his road back from surgery. When he's healthy, Stanton is as good as any player in the game, evidenced by the 13-year, $325 million contract the Marlins gave him last winter. But despite his talent, he's only played more than 123 games just once since 2011.

NEW YORK METS  

Who would have thought back in April that this division race would be over with more than a week left in the season, and that it would be the Mets who raised the NL East flag? Not many, which is why the Amazin's deserve full credit for their remarkable run to the postseason. Everyone knew heading into the season the young rotation led by Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard had a chance to be dynamic eventually, but that group quickly evolved into one of the more dominant staffs in the league.

But while the development of the young arms certainly helped, this division championship wouldn't have happened had GM Sandy Alderson decided not to be ultra-aggressive at the trade deadline (which, of course, coincided with the Nationals second-half collapse). The moves to acquire Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes turned the tide and immediately transformed this club into a dangerous contender.

So what are the Mets' playoff prospects as they head into their NLDS matchup vs. the Dodgers? Who knows, but they seemingly have a lot of what they need for a deep October run.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 

Sunday's 12-5 victory over the Nats had to feel especially good for the Phillies. To break the game open in the ninth inning vs. Jonathan Papelbon, their former closer who weeks earlier publicly criticized his old teammates, was good old fashioned payback. For it to come on the same day that the 34-year-old reliever attacked Bryce Harper in the dugout likely made the Phils glad they moved on from him when they did.

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.