Series: Game 1 of 3

Washington leads 1-0 (as of 6/5)

Game 1: Monday, June 5
Game 2: Tuesday, June 6
Game 3: Wednesday, June 7

Nationals 5

(26-32, 16-19 away)

Braves 4

(28-30, 13-13 home)

    7:05 PM ET, June 5, 2006

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

    123456789 R H E
    WAS 000005000 5 10 0
    ATL 011002000 4 7 2

    W: L. Hernandez (5-5)

    L: T. Hudson (5-4)

    S: C. Cordero (10)

    Livan wins fourth straight start; Nats nip slumping Braves

    ATLANTA (AP) -- With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Washington closer Chad Cordero remembered other recent close games against the Atlanta Braves.

    Too many of them ended in Atlanta wins, including one last month when Cordero gave up a ninth-inning grand slam and lost the game.

    This time, Cordero and the Nationals held on. Cordero escaped a bases-loaded ninth-inning jam by retiring Adam LaRoche on a grounder to preserve a 5-4 win for Livan Hernandez on Monday night. The Nationals have won five straight.

    "It's a good sign the tide is turning a little bit," Washington manager Frank Robinson said.

    Hernandez, who won his fourth straight start, ended an 11-game losing streak to the Braves in regular-season games. He had been 0-11 with a 5.95 ERA in his last 15 starts since his last win over the Braves on Aug. 18, 2000. Overall, Hernandez improved to 3-14 against the Braves.

    "I don't think about that," Hernandez insisted. "I came to pitch in this game and try to win. ... I don't go to the mound and think this is my first win here."

    The Braves, coming off a four-game sweep to Arizona, have lost five consecutive home games for the first time since a six-game home skid Aug. 8-21, 2001. Overall, the Braves have lost seven of eight to fall two games below .500 for the first time since May 15.

    On May 13, Cordero gave up a ninth-inning grand slam to Jeff Francoeur in an 8-5 loss to the Braves.

    Francoeur hit another homer, off Hernandez on Monday night, but the Nationals held on as Cordero recorded his 10th save in 12 chances.

    Hernandez (5-5) gave up six hits and four runs with four walks in six innings. The Braves helped the veteran with two sixth-inning errors that contributed to the Nationals' five-run inning.

    "They made some mistakes they don't usually make, and we took advantage of it," Robinson said.

    The win was the first in a regular-season game at Turner Field for Hernandez, but he enjoyed a career highlight at the stadium. While with the Marlins, the right-hander struck out 15 Braves -- with the help of umpire Eric Gregg's generous strike zone -- in a 2-1 victory over Atlanta in the 1997 NLCS. Gregg, 55, died of a stroke Monday.

    "The guy is a great guy and a great umpire," Hernandez said. "I got one of my best games in my career when he was behind home plate. I never will forget that. When I see the video and see him behind the plate, it's going to be difficult."

    Atlanta starter Tim Hudson (5-4) took the loss despite giving up only two earned runs in 5 2-3 innings.

    The Braves scored one run off Hernandez in the second. LaRoche led off with a single and scored on Todd Pratt's bases-loaded fly ball to center. Francoeur was thrown out at the plate by Hernandez on Hudson's hard bunt.

    Atlanta pushed the lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Edgar Renteria led off with a walk, moved to third on Chipper Jones' double and scored on Andruw Jones' fly ball to left.

    Hudson was hurt by two errors in the Nationals' big sixth inning.

    Nick Johnson advanced to second to open the sixth when his grounder skipped under LaRoche's glove at first base for an error. Johnson moved to third on Marlon Anderson's infield hit, and both runners scored on Brian Schneider's two-run single to left, tying the game at 2.

    Damian Jackson followed with a single to center and advanced to second when Andruw Jones' throw to the plate forced Schneider to hold at third. Hernandez hit a grounder to Marcus Giles at second, and Giles threw wildly to home plate for an error, allowing Schneider and Jackson to score for a 4-2 lead. Hernandez advanced to second on the error.

    "LaRoche just misplayed the ball. That started it," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Then Gilly made a great play, then tried to make two great plays out of one. That opened the floodgates a little bit."

    Jose Vidro's double to right drove in Hernandez for a 5-2 lead, knocking Hudson out of the game.

    "All the miscues that happened in that inning were all hustling errors," Hudson said. "They were aggressive errors. There's nobody in here that faults anybody for making aggressive mistakes."

    Hudson gave up eight hits and five runs, two earned, with three walks and four strikeouts.

    A strong wind blowing in from center field kept a sixth-inning drive by Andruw Jones in the park. But after Hernandez walked LaRoche, Francoeur hit a line-drive homer to left, cutting the lead to 5-4.

    Game notes

    Since moving to Washington in 2005, the Nationals are 24-6 in June, including a 20-6 mark in the month last year. ... Francoeur's homer, his 11th, was his first since May 18. ... Hudson had his three-game winning streak end.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press