Belliard gets go-ahead hit as Nationals snap 6-game skid

Hero: Jason Bergmann allowed just one hit and fanned a career-high eight for his first win of the season.

Figure this: Washington broke the 1931 Reds' start-of-year string of nine games without scoring in the first three innings of a game.

Quotable: "If I had blown this, it would have been devastating to me and to the whole team." -- Cordero.

Elias Says: Washington's win gives manager Manny Acta his second win in 10 games. Since 1900, only five managers lost as many as nine of their first 10 major-league games, but two -- Gil Hodges (1963) and Malachi Kittredge (1904) -- did so for Washington teams. The others were Alan Trammell (2003 Tigers), Greg Riddoch (1990 Padres), and Marty McManus (1932 Red Sox).

-- ESPN.com news services

Nationals 2, Braves 0

ATLANTA -- The Washington Nationals took a lead during a game -- and won it, too.

Ronnie Belliard hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning off John Smoltz, and Washington beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0 Thursday night to stop a six-game losing streak.

Ryan Zimmerman also hit an RBI single for the Nationals (2-8), who had never before led a game this year at the time a pitch was thrown. Their only previous win was April 4, when Dmitri Young hit a game-ending single that capped a three-run ninth inning in a 7-6 victory over visiting Florida.

Washington has been outscored 61-23 this season and hasn't scored during the first three innings of any game.

Jason Bergmann struck out a career-high eight in six innings, allowing just one hit -- a leadoff double in the fourth by Andruw Jones. Bergmann, who walked four, lasted just 3 2-3 innings against Arizona in his previous start.

Jesus Colome (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh, Jon Rauch had a 1-2-3 eighth and Chad Cordero finished the two-hitter for his first save. Chipper Jones singled with one out in the ninth and Andruw Jones walked. After Brian McCann took a called third strike, Jeff Francoeur loaded the bases for Scott Thorman, who struck out.

Smoltz (1-1) gave up four hits and four walks -- two intentional -- in eight innings, striking out six. He is 17-10 against the Nationals/Expos in 35 starts.

Atlanta had won its previous four games.

The game was scoreless when Smoltz hit Chris Snelling with a pitch leading off the eighth. Snelling was sacrificed to second and, after a walk to Felipe Lopez, took third on a wild pitch. Belliard and Zimmerman followed with consecutive singles.

Game notes
Smoltz has 2,795 strikeouts, three behind Cy Young for 18th place. ... The Nationals recalled RHP Saul Rivera from Triple-A Columbus after placing LHP Ray King on the 15-day DL because of shoulder tendinitis.