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Bergmann blows 'em away

Smoltz dislocates finger in loss

The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Jason Bergmann took a bid for a no-hitter into the eighth inning and got his first major league win as a starter, leading the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 2-1 Monday night.
    Bergmann cruised through the first seven innings but Brian McCann hit a leadoff homer in the eighth. The right-hander responded by retiring the next three to get out of the inning.
    He came out for the ninth inning and departed after pinch-hitter Matt Diaz singled. Jesus Colome got two outs before Edgar Renteria singled to bring up Andruw Jones, who struck out after being ahead 3-0. It was Colome’s first save of the season.
    Bergmann (1-3) struck out 10 and walked one to get his first win since Sept. 15, 2005, and first in 15 major league starts.
    The Nationals have won four straight, all at home, following an eight-game skid on the road.
    John Smoltz, who turns 40 on Tuesday, pitched well for the Braves before he hurt his pitching hand tagging Austin Kearns during a rundown in the bottom of the seventh.
    Immediately after applying the tag at chest level, Smoltz fell to the ground in obvious pain. He then got up, looked at his hand and slammed his glove to the ground in frustration. He left the field after being examined by a trainer.
    Smoltz (5-2) worked 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits. He walked two and struck out five in his first loss since April 12, also against Washington.
    Cristian Guzman tripled against Smoltz in the first and scored when Ryan Zimmerman bounced out to shortstop. That was it for the Nationals until Kearns doubled in Ryan Church in the seventh to make it 2-0.
    Bergmann retired the first nine batters he faced before Kelly Johnson drew a four-pitch walk. He stole second when Willie Harris struck out. He was stranded there when the Nationals made two nice plays. First baseman Robert Fick leaned into the stands to catch Renteria’s popup in the fourth, and a batter later, shortstop Guzman raced into short left field to snare Jones’ popup.
    It was the fourth time in his eight starts that Bergmann pitched at least six innings and held his opponents to two hits or fewer. Against the Braves this season, Bergmann has allowed three hits in 14 innings. The eight-plus innings were a career high.

Notes:
Smoltz is 1-2 against Washington this season. ... Atlanta INF Chipper Jones missed his third straight game with bruised wrists and thumbs. He was originally in the lineup, but scratched before gametime. ... Washington placed RHP Shawn Hill on the 15-day disabled list and activated RHP Chad Cordero from the bereavement list. ... Nationals 1B Dmitri Young did not start for the sixth straight game due to a sore left Achilles’.

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