Braves quotes after clinching NL East and beating Cubs

**FREDI GONZALEZ

On clinching division title

“What a great feeling. It really is a great feeling. We knew early on that the Nationals had lost, but we still wanted to be able to celebrate after coming out with a win. And we did. Teheran was terrific, and we were able to add on some runs. It was a good win. Lot of good things happened. Good team win.

“You want to clinch at home in front of your fans. But if you can’t, I think clinching in one of these stadiums, Wrigley or Fenway, one of those old, traditional-type stadiums, I think would be second-best. It was great.”

On Simmons getting 16th and 17th homers

“Seventeen home runs, but not only that, how ‘bout the play he made on the barehand coming up over the infield? Boy, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if we’d be in this situation. We’ve had a lot of good things happen – Freeman had a terrific year, Chris Johnson’s got a chance to win the batting title – I think Simmons is … he’s a special guy.”

On seeing the Nats loss on scoreboard in sixth inning

“I told Carlos, I don’t know whether to smile or cry. You don’t know what kind of feelings you’ll have. And you quickly brush those away, because now you’ve got to get back to the task at hand and try to win the game. I mean, it’s all fine and dandy that we win the division (after the Nationals loss) but it wouldn’t have been the same if we hadn’t won today’s game. It really makes it better.”

On Teheran striking out Castro with 2 in scoring position, 2 out, 11-pitch AB

“That was unbelievable. We’ve seen him do that. Castro didn’t give an inch, and he made some good pitches. Boy, did he pitch a good game. We’ve pitched some good games. Medlen deserved for us to be doing champagne last night the way he pitched, but it just didn’t happen.

“It’s a good feeling. And now we’ve got seven games and we’ve got to try to get our rotation in order a little bit and try to get our bullpen in order, healthy, and give guys some rest and then go into the postseason.”

On Freeman’s 2-run homer in 1st

“This guy’s been great. He really has. Hopefully we can continue with these types of games at home, and I think we will. Show our fans that we’ve still got some business to take care of.”

On Wood pitching in relief today, his throw day or are you looking at him for bullpen in playoffs?

“I’m looking at him in the bullpen. Why not? I think looking ahead, he’ll be a big piece for us out of that bullpen, a third left-hander.”

**JASON HEYWARD

On being with team and part of this

“Awesome. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen for me, 30 days back playing after being hit in the face. But God works in his own ways, and what he had for me is for me. I worked hard to get in shape, and here we are.”

On winning divsion

“We worked hard enough as a group to get here. Every time someone went down, someone stepped in, and I’m really proud of this team.”

Feel as good or better than you thought it would?

“It’s a little better. You don’t know how it’s going to feel. It’s hard to win. It’s hard to clinch on the field, because no team wants to have that happen agains them. That’s the competition of this game, and that’s what you have to love and appreciate.”

“Right now I’m really happy for the city of Atlanta, happy for the Braves fans that came out to Chicago and the ones that have been with us all year. I’m proud of everybody.”

**ANDRELTON SIMMONS

On winning division

“We’re still a young team, learning, but we’re doing a job at the same time. We’re only going to get better. We’ve just got to keep everybody healthy and we’ll be fine.”

On winning division instead of wild card

“It’s definitely a different feeling. Now we know we’ve got some games to work with, time to rest our players, and that’s always good. We worked hard and we deserve it.”

Good as you imagined

“Yes, yes, yes. We were talking about it yesterday, (clinching) if the Nationals lose. But it definitely feels better when you win the game.”

On his two homers and nice defensive plays today

“I don’t even remember what happened in the game. I know we won the division, and that’s all that’s on my mind right now.”

Did you think you could hit 17 home runs in first full season?

“At the beginning of the season I set a goal of 15, because I was feeling good in spring training and all that.”

**TIM HUDSON

On winning division

“It’s awesome. Something to be proud of. What we’ve gone through as a team this year, guys stepping up for guys like myself and Heyward and different people that’s gotten hurt throughout the season. It’s a sign of a championship-caliber club. To have guys step up and do whatever it takes to win all year, is something to be proud of.”

Impressive for such a young team to do that, persevere like that?

“It is impressive, but I feel like when you have a group of guys that are really good, it doesn’t really matter how young you are. I think guys are confident they can come up here and win a championship at this level.”

**FREDDIE FREEMAN

On winning division

“It’s unbelievable. This is just one of four (celebrations) hopefully.”

More on the feeling of finally getting it done

“It’s pretty cool. It’s a lot of hard work, starting on Feb. 15. It’s finally paid off. This is only one step of four, hopefully, but it’s pretty special to have it with these group of guys. We battled all year, injury bugs and everything. It’s pretty special.”

On people who focus on Braves flaws, despite their 92 wins

“We’re division champions. They can say what they want to say. We’ll keep doing what we do between the lines, and hopefully it’s enough.”

On Teheran today

“Unbelievable. He came out and gave us six strong innings. We were able to get him a lead quick, and hopefully that helped him out. I think it did. And Andrelton was unbelievable today. He’s been doing it all year. That’s a Gold Glover in my mind, and what he does offensively is pretty special also.”

**BRIAN McCANN

On winning first division title since 2005

“I’m speechless. It’s an amazing feeling.”

On being one of only 2 Braves (along with Tim Hudson) still with team from ‘05

“Time flies. You can’t take things for granted. This feeling right here is what you play for. It’s what you wake up for in the morning in the offseason thinking about before you grind out 2-1/2 hours in a workout. Whatever you’ve got to do to perform at this level for 162 games – what we do for a living is not normal – and the work we put into it, you see how excited everybody is.”

**General manager FRANK WREN

On winning division

“It feels great. It’s really a culmination of what’s been a great season for us. The guys have persevered through all the adversity from the very beginning. We started losing guys in April, and they’ve never quit believing or quit trying to overcome that. And they’ve done a great job of it.”

On Teheran today, pitching strong even after title clinched with Nats loss

“That’s one of the constants for us all year long, is our young guys have continued to battle and pitch, and our pitching staff has been terrific. That exemplified what Julio has done all year long, battling back from what was a tough year last year, to being a really solid contributor in a championship staff.”

On pundits who say Braves don’t have consistent offense, or true No. 1 pitcher, to win it all

“I just think we have a good team, and I don’t think you can overlook any good team. When it gets to the postseason, like we always say, if you’re playing your best baseball at the right time, you can win it all. And I don’t think there’s any doubt this group can play to that level.”

**JULIO TEHERAN

On pitching so well and getting the win

“I was excited for the game. I know we wanted this game, so I was trying to do my best. I was focused the whole game and trying to do my thing.”

On couple of wind-blown fly balls falling for hits, etc

“I was so focused that it didn’t matter. I knew it was tough (conditions). I was just trying to do my job.”

**CHRIS JOHNSON

On Freddie Freeman

“He’s carried us. He’s our MVP, and hopefully he’s the MVP of the National League.”

On winning division after all the injuries

“We’ve had a lot of people go down. It’s been tough, but guys have stepped up. And that’s what good teams do.”

On the pitching

“The pitching staff’s carried us all year. They’re the reason we’re where we are. As an offense, we know we’re not going to go out there and get your 10 runs every game. So when we’re able to get you three, they get us a win. This is all because of our pitching staff.”

On playing for home-field advantage

“We want to play in front of our home crowd. From now on that’s what we’ll be playing for. We want to get this thing back to Atlanta and let our home crowd enjoy this with us.”

On seeing scoreboard when Nats score was final

“You know what? I don’t think too many guys were out there scoreboard watching today. This was one of those days where we came in knowing that if we won the game, we’re in. So we came out here and tried to just take care of business and then we could celebrate.”

On Teheran

“He’s amazing. The whole pitching staff is the reason we’re where we are. Hats off to them. Hopefully they can carry us a little longer.”

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