May 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) waits to bat in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. The Nationals beat the Braves 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA -- Thanks to Jordan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, the Washington Nationals finally have a victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Zimmerman allowed just two hits over eight innings and Desmond, batting in the cleanup spot for the first time, hit a two-run homer in the fourth as the Nationals beat the Braves 2-0 on Wednesday night.
The Nationals had lost their first five games to the Braves this season after dropping their final four games a year ago.
Zimmerman (5-1) struck out eight and walked none while running his scoreless streak to 18 innings. The right-hander retired the final 17 batters he faced before giving way to Rafael Soriano, who pitched a perfect ninth inning for his eighth save.
A two-out single by Justin Upton in the first inning and a double by Paul Maholm with one out in the third were the only hits off Zimmerman, who threw 72 of his 107 pitches for strikes.
Maholm (3-3) was the hard-luck loser, retiring the final 13 batters he faced and allowing just three hits over eight innings. He struck out four and walked two, throwing 63 of his 99 pitches for strikes.
The news wasn't all good for the Nationals, though. Bryce Harper had to leave the game in the middle of the sixth after apparently tweaking his left side on a checked swing to start the inning.
Maholm walked Harper leading off the fourth inning and Desmond then jumped on a slow 1-and-1 curveball left in the middle of the plate for his fourth home run of the season and only the second homer Maholm had allowed in six starts.
Maholm started the season with 25 scoreless innings, including going 7 in a 9-0 victory over the Nationals on April 14. But he gave up eight runs and lasted just 3 innings at Detroit on Friday in losing his second straight start.
Zimmerman was coming off his second complete game of the season and first career shutout. He didn't allow a Cincinnati runner into scoring position on Friday, allowing just one hit and one walk in the 1-0 victory.
Notes: Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kunz and assistant John Hsu used a defibrillator and CPR on a worker who had suffered an apparent heart attack near the Washington clubhouse before Wednesday's game, but the man later died at an Atlanta hospital. He was identified as Reuben Porras, 61. ... Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg experienced no issues during his regular between-starts bullpen session on Wednesday and is set to make his scheduled outing on Saturday at Pittsburgh. Health concerns arose after he kept shaking his arm and had command issues while working six innings in the Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Braves on Monday. ... Braves RHP Tim Hudson, who beat the National 8-1 on Tuesday, is only the second major-league pitcher to homer during his 200th career win. Cleveland's Bob Lemon did it against Baltimore on Sept. 11, 1956. ... With second baseman Danny Espinosa's average down to .173 after going 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the previous four games, Nationals manager Davey Johnson started Steve Lombardozzi in his place. Lombardozzi hit second in the order. ... RF Jayson Werth, who fouled a pitch off his left ankle in the series opener, was out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight game.