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Well aware of what was transpiring on the field, the crowd began to hang on every pitch Astacio threw. And when Jeff Francoeur lined a first-pitch fastball with two outs in the fifth into right field to break up the perfect game, the fans gave him a lengthy round of applause.

“I remember like my old times when I throw some shutouts and I am just feeling good,” said Astacio, who threw 11 shutouts in the first 11 seasons of his career but hadn’t done it once in the last three years.

By the time the no-hitter was broken up, the Nationals were well in control of the game, having taken a 4-0 lead with a balanced offensive attack. They struck in the second thanks to a beautifully placed drag bunt to the right side of the infield by Bernie Castro with two outs that scored Alex Escobar.

It was Castro’s second bunt single of that fashion in two days.

“You just don’t see that bunt anymore,” Robinson said. “It’s become extinct.”

Washington kept piling on in the third with some help from the Atlanta defense, which committed two errors during a three-run third inning. Second baseman Marcus Giles started things off with a wild throw to first on Felipe Lopez’s hard grounder to the hole. Shortstop Tony Pena Jr. added another error moments later when he let Austin Kearns’ slow roller get past him, allowing two runs to score.

An RBI double by Kearns in the fifth made it 5-0, and that was more than enough support for Astacio to finish off the best performance by a Nationals pitcher this season and to do it in a scant two hours and one minute.

“About the seventh inning, you’re looking at the pitch count he had up there,” Robinson said. “The way he was throwing the ball, you just felt like this was it. This was his night.”