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Only nine of Rivera’s 23 pitches were strikes, and his successor didn’t do much better. Jesus Colome managed 13 strikes in his 24 pitches but gave up RBI singles to Gomez and Morneau, threw a wild pitch and walked two batters, both of whom scored when Brian Sanches entered the game.

Neither Rivera nor Colome had allowed a run in their last 15 innings combined. They were tagged for seven Wednesday night.

And if just to underscore the point, the Nationals got back-to-back hits to start the eighth, only to watch Lo Duca hit into a 5-4-3 double play that could have been a triple play had second-base umpire Tim McClelland ruled Lopez out at second on the grounds that Alexi Casilla was in the neighborhood of the bag when he took a throw from Buscher.

“We lost a tough one yesterday and got [a loss] today,” Milledge said. “We’ve got to come out here tomorrow. We can’t get down.”