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Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 12:37 AM EDT



  R H E  
Nationals 3 11 0 WP: Bergmann (1-0)
LP: Sosa (9-3)
S: Cordero (42)  
Braves 2 9 0

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- John Patterson was forced to leave early but the the Washington Nationals ' bullpen was up for the challenge.

Patterson left with stomach cramps after just 2 2/3 innings, but four relievers shut down the Atlanta Braves thereafter as the Nationals rallied for a 3-2 triumph.

Washington's Jay Bergmann (1-0), who was making his second major league appearance after being called up from Class AAA New Orleans on Sunday, replaced Patterson and tossed two scoreless innings for his first career win.

"As a reliever, I didn't expect to get a win at all for a while," Bergmann said. "I just wanted to pitch well."

Hector Carrasco followed with two scoreless frames and Gary Majewski recorded the next four outs for the Nationals. Chad Cordero worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his 42nd save in 46 chances.

The Braves jumped to a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Marcus Giles plated Kelly Johnson with a single and Andruw Jones drew a bases-loaded walk two batters later. However Washington outfielder Jose Guillen , who drew the ire of many Atlanta players after he spiked Chipper Jones while sliding hard into third base the last time the two teams faced each other, cut the deficit in half one inning later.

In the first pitch of Guillen's second at-bat, Braves starter Jorge Sosa threw a changeup over his head. Two pitches later, Guillen got the better of the matchup, launching Sosa's 1-1 offering into the left field bleachers.

"I just got lucky," Guillen said with a smile. "(It was a) hanging curveball in the middle."

It was the first run scored by the Nationals in 24 innings.

"We hit today?" Guillen asked reporters after the game. "We got some hits today? You sure? We just got lucky today. I don't know."

Jose Vidro doubled to tie the game in the fifth and Preston Wilson followed by lacing a single to put the Nationals on top three batters later.

"(It was) just a battle at-bat," Wilson said. "I was able to get a hit."

Atlanta squandered three opportunities to take the lead. In the fifth, Johnny Estrada struck out with runners on first and second. Two innings later, Atlanta again placed two runners on, but rookie Jeff Francoeur grounded out to end the frame.

In the eighth, Atlanta had runners at first and second with one out, but Kelly Johnson flew out and Marcus Giles popped out to end the threat.

"We had a lot of opportunities to win," Francoeur said. "We left a lot of people on base tonight. (The Nationals' bullpen) did a good job."

"It was a very big ball game for us." said Nationals manager Frank Robinson , whose team moved within 1 1/2 games of Philadelphia and Florida in the tight National League wild card race. "The bullpen came through again. They've come through a lot of times this year. They did a tremendous job."

Atlanta had won the last five one-run games between the teams.

"I don't believe in the law of averages," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Every day is a new day. We left too many guys on. Tonight we didn't get them in."

"It's good to win a one-run game against any team, no matter who it is," said Wilson, whose team had won just two of its previous 20 one-run contests. "It's good to start off (the series) with a win."

Sosa (9-3) allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings to lose for the first time since August 12.

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