Atlanta rookie Ian Anderson allowed only a bunt single in seven scoreless innings to send the visiting Braves to a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
Anderson, ranked as the top pitching prospect in the Braves’ organization, struck out a career-best nine. The only hit he allowed was a leadoff bunt by Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth inning.
Anderson (3-0) became the team’s first rookie to win his first three decisions since Williams Perez started 4-0 in 2015.
Closer Mark Melancon survived a bases-loaded situation in the ninth inning. The veteran got Victor Robles to fly out to right field to end the game. Melancon earned his 10th save.
The Braves improved to 20-0 when leading after six innings and improved to 6-2 against left-handed starters.
Patrick Corbin was the hard-luck loser and suffered his fifth straight loss. Corbin (2-5) pitched a season-high seven innings and allowed two runs on nine hits and eight strikeouts.
After playing from behind in the first two games of the series, the Braves broke in front with a run in the first inning. Center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was questionable to play after leaving Friday’s game early when he fouled a pitch off his left foot. Acuna showed no ill effects on Saturday when he singled, stole second and scored when Marcell Ozuna sent a sharp single to center field.
The Braves made it 2-0 with a run in the fourth inning. Adam Duvall doubled and scored when Ozzie Albies singled to right field.
The Nationals got their run with two outs in the eighth against reliever Shane Greene. Adam Eaton, a late scratch from the starting lineup, led off with a pinch-hit single, stole second and scored on Trea Turner’s double to right. The Braves called on Will Smith to get out of the jam and he retired Juan Soto on a bouncer to second to end the threat.
The Braves (27-19) have won five of nine meetings against the Nationals (17-27).