WASHINGTON (AP) – Rookie Ian Anderson allowed a hit in seven scoreless innings and the Atlanta Braves, leaders of the NL East, managed to preserve the lead to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Saturday night.

The victory came with a good deal of suffering. Closer Mark Melancon had to come out of a jam with a full house in the ninth inning.

In his fourth career start, Anderson (3-0) allowed the only hit when Asdrúbal Cabrera bumped down the third base line. Anderson struck out nine, his highest of the season, in addition to walking three and retiring his last 12 opponents in a row.

Melancon made his 10th save in 11 chances by forcing Víctor Robles to fly a balloon to right field with the bases loaded.

After trailing 5-0 in each of the first two games of the series – a win and a loss – the Braves took the lead in the first inning.

Venezuelan Ronald Acuña singled, stole middle and scored on a hit by Dominican Marcell Ozuna. The Braves were never down in the game.

The loss went to Patrick Corbin (2-5), who allowed two runs and nine hits, in a task that included eight strikeouts.

For the Braves, the Venezuelan Acuña 4-1 with a run scored. The Dominican Ozuna 4-1 with an RBI.

For the Nationals, the Dominicans Juan Soto 3-0, Robles 1-0. The Venezuelan Cabrera 4-2. The Cuban Yadiel Hernández 3-0.