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Nationals' bats go silent day after eruption

WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday night, the Nationals collected a team-record 23 hits and scored 16 runs against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

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It was a different story less than 24 hours later. The Nationals had a tough time getting to first base as they were blanked by the Rays, 5-0, at Nationals Park on Wednesday night.

Washington faced two position players in its rout Tuesday, but this time, the Rays used a bullpen by committee to hold down the Nationals, beginning with right-hander Steve Geltz, who fired two perfect frames before giving way to Matt Andriese. The righty ended up the winning pitcher by throwing four shutout innings and allowing two hits.

"On a daily basis we face multiple pitchers. It doesn't matter if it's the first inning or between the sixth and ninth," Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said. "That didn't have any effect. They all got to throw the ball over the plate. Our job is to hit it, but we weren't able to scratch anything today."

Even manager Matt Williams couldn't figure why the bats suddenly went cold.

"If anybody had that formula, we would certainly do something about it," Williams said. "We would love to get 23 hits every day, score a whole bunch of runs.

"Unfortunately, the way baseball is, that doesn't happen. That's why we play 162 [games]. There is another [game] tomorrow and we have to be ready for that. You never know what might happen tomorrow. It may be another 23 hits."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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