Jason Bergmann took a bid for a no-hitter into the eighth inning and got his first major league win as a starter, leading the Washington Nationals over the visiting Atlanta Braves, 2-1, last night.

Bergmann cruised through the first seven innings but Brian McCann hit a leadoff homer in the eighth. The righthander responded by retiring the next three to get out of the inning.

He came out for the ninth inning and departed after pinch-hitter Matt Diaz singled.

Bergmann (1-3) struck out 10 and walked one to get his first win since Sept. 15, 2005, and first in 15 major league starts.

"It wasn't like it was a big deal," Bergmann said. "You try to limit the number of hits you give up. If it's zero, it's fine. I wasn't going for the no-hitter at all."

John Smoltz (5-2), who turns 40 today, pitched well for the Braves before he hurt his pitching hand tagging Austin Kearns during a rundown in the bottom of the seventh. Immediately after applying the tag at chest level, Smoltz fell to the ground in obvious pain. He then got up, looked at his hand and slammed his glove to the ground in frustration. He left the field after being examined by a trainer.

In other games:

* At Pittsburgh, Tom Gorzelanny (5-2) limited slumping Florida to five singles over seven shutout innings as the Pirates defeated the Marlins, 7-0.

Freddy Sanchez went 4-for-5 with two RBI to lead the Pirates.

* At New York, the Cubs' Michael Wuertz walked three straight batters in the bottom of the ninth inning, forcing home the winning run as the Mets defeated Chicago, 5-4. Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee missed the game because of neck spasms.

* At San Diego, Greg Maddux (3-2) pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game in 2 years and the Padres beat Cincinnati, 7-1. Maddux retired the first 16 batters he faced. Mike Cameron and Josh Bard each had two hits and two RBI for the Padres.

* At Los Angeles, Chris Duncan hit a two-run homer and David Eckstein had three hits as St. Louis defeated the Dodgers, 8-4. Brad Thompson pitched 6 2/3 effective innings and improved to 2-0.

Noteworthy

* Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas has offered a $1 million bounty for Barry Bonds' eventual 756th record-breaking home-run ball. Bonds, who has 11 home runs this season, is just 11 homers shy of breaking Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755 home runs.

* Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas has offered a $1 million bounty for Barry Bonds' eventual 756th record-breaking home-run ball. Bonds, who has 11 home runs this season, is just 11 homers shy of breaking Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755 home runs.

* The start of the World Series is being pushed back an extra day to Oct. 24, meaning Game 7 is scheduled for November for the first time. Because of extra off-days during the postseason, a team sweeping the NL Championship Series would have 8 days off before its World Series opener. Major League Baseball announced last summer that the Series would start on a Tuesday beginning in 2007 under the sport's new network television contracts. In recent months, the decision was made to push it back an extra day to Wednesday. *