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A breakthrough or a blip?

Jun 27, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Michael Morse collected four of the Nationals' 21 hits last night.

As the hits kept piling up and the balls kept soaring out of Coors Field, the smiles inside the Nationals' dugout kept getting bigger and bigger.

If ever a team needed a 12-run, 21-hit performance, this was it. For the first time in a long time, the Nationals were able to rest easy knowing they had a comfortable lead in hand. Not since a 7-2 victory in Atlanta on May 27 had they won a game by more than four runs.

And they hadn't hit like this since … well, they hadn't hit like this any previous game this season. You have to go back to May 20, 2011 to find the last time the Nationals scored at least 12 runs (they racked up 17 that night in Baltimore). And you have to go way back to July 11, 2009 in Houston to find the last time they compiled 21 hits (the club record since the franchise arrived in Washington). And you can go back as far as you want but you won't find any previous game in which the Nationals pounded out 11 extra-base hits as they did last night.

Yes, in one fell swoop, this team managed to take the heat off its hitting coach, raise its season batting average four points (from .238 to .242) and slugging percentage eight points (from .387 to .395) and perhapsRead more »

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NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK7156
WASHINGTON64626.5
ATLANTA547317.0
MIAMI517720.5
PHILADELPHIA507821.5
*Through Thursday's games

NL WILD CARD STANDINGS

WLGB
PITTSBURGH7849+4.5
CHICAGO7353
SAN FRANCISCO68595.5
WASHINGTON64639.5
*Through Friday's early games

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