Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 9/19)

Game 1: Monday, September 18
Game 2: Tuesday, September 19
Game 3: Wednesday, September 20

Braves 2

(73-78, 37-39 away)

Nationals 9

(66-85, 39-35 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 19, 2006

    RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 000000110 2 4 0
    WAS 01202130 - 9 10 1

    W: B. Perez (1-0)

    L: C. James (10-4)

    Nats' rookie Perez stymies Braves, wins first ML start

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cruising through his first major league start, rookie Beltran Perez didn't want to come out.

    "I wanted to pitch nine innings," Beltran said after allowing one hit over six innings Tuesday night in the Washington Nationals' 9-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

    "I just went pitch by pitch, inning by inning, hitter by hitter, see how long I go," Perez said.

    Elias Says
    Beltran Perez
    Verlander, Josh Johnson, Weaver, Sanchez, Cain ... in a season when every month seemed to deliver a new candidate for top rookie pitcher, Chuck James has quietly been the winningest freshman (10-4) since the date of his first victory (June 25). But there's a new sheriff in town.

    On Tuesday night, Beltran Perez of the Nationals defeated James and the Braves, and he did it impressively, allowing one hit and no walks in six innings. Only two other pitchers in the live-ball era allowed a total of one hit and walk pitching at least six innings in their first major-league start: Darrin Winston (1997 Phillies) and Jimmy Jones (1986 Padres).

    • For more Elias Says, click here

    Perez (1-0), who had made five relief appearances since being called up from Double-A Harrisburg on Sept. 2, struck out three and walked none, allowing only a two-out single to Chipper Jones in the first inning. Perez, who threw 70 pitches, retired his final 16 batters.

    "I was very impressed," manager Frank Robinson said. "He went after hitters and threw pitches in the strike zone. Most important is he didn't walk anybody."

    Nick Johnson homered on his 28th birthday, and Jose Vidro also connected off Chuck James (10-4), who lost for the first time in nine starts since Aug. 4. Alfonso Soriano added a two-run double -- he has 39 doubles to go along with 40 stolen bases and 45 homers.

    Atlanta's magic number for playoff elimination was lowered to seven. The Braves have been to the playoffs each year since 1991.

    James (10-4) allowed five runs, five hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts. It was his shortest outing since he allowed seven runs in one inning against the New York Mets on July 30.

    "I could tell that I didn't have my command I usually have," James said. "I was hoping I could work thorough it and bounce back from it. It just kept on getting worse as the game went on."

    Johnson hit his 23rd homer leading off the second, and Washington made it 3-0 in the third on Austin Kearns' RBI double and Brandon Harper's sacrifice fly. Vidro's two-run homer in the fifth chased James, and Ryan Zimmerman made it 6-0 with an RBI double off Kevin Barry in the sixth.

    Brian McCann singled in the Braves' first run in the seventh off Saul Rivera. Nook Logan had an RBI single off Barry in the seventh, and Soriano doubled off Ken Ray for a 9-1 lead.

    Game notes

    Johnson is the first player to homer on his birthday for Nationals since the team moved to Washington in 2005. ... Nationals OF George Lombard stole second and third in the sixth, his first stolen bases since April 27, 2003, for Tampa Bay.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press