• Summary: The Nationals snapped a six-game losing streak, receiving a go-ahead single from Ronnie Belliard in the eighth inning to edge the Braves 2-0.
• Turning point: Chad Cordero escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, striking out Scott Thorman with the bases full after walking two hitters in a row.
• 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.
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.