The National League East champions entered into Wednesday’s regular-season finale needing a victory, or a loss by the Cincinnati Reds, to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“It’s quite an accomplishment [to have the best record],” Zimmerman said of the Nationals, who finished with an MLB-high 98 wins. “Obviously, winning the division was a goal, and now we have done that, and now we have a chance to go do some stuff in the playoffs.”
No Washington baseball team has made the playoffs since 1933.
Washington next play on Sunday against the winner of today’s wild-card game between Atlanta and St Louis.
Right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson gave up one run on six hits over 6-2/3 innings for the Nationals, who won the final two games of the three-game series against Philadelphia. Jackson fanned six and walked one batter.
Darin Ruf knocked in the only run for Philadelphia, who missed out on the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
Philadelphia were trying to finish with a record above .500 for a 10th straight season.
“It didn’t happen this year,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “It’s pretty obvious the reasons why, no excuses. Reasons that we weren’t in the race pretty much for a lot of the season. We gave ourselves a chance when we got healthy.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson left Wednesday’s game early because he felt numbness in his left leg, which was later diagnosed as a nerve issue.
In Pittsburgh, Ben Sheets made the 250th and final regular season start of his MLB career on Wednesday as the Braves shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0. The 34-year-old Sheets announced his retirement on Tuesday.
Matt Carpenter hit the go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift St Louis to a 1-0 victory over the Reds.
Defending champions the Cardinals, who clinched the second wild-card spot on Tuesday, travel to Atlanta for today’s wild-card contest.