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Hitting highlight: It's been a chore for the Nationals to score runs. It never comes easy. And it certainly didn't tonight, though they somehow cobbled together enough key hits at the right moments to score four runs: Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double in the first, Tyler Moore's RBI infield single in the sixthm Ian Desmond's RBI single in the ninth and Denard Span's subsequent double. In between all that, though, the Nationals put 21 men on base against five Chicago pitchers. They certainly had opportunities to tack on runs, countless opportunities. At this point, it's probably too much to ask of this lineup.
Pitching highlight: No matter how this season finishes for the Nationals, the resurgence of Haren has been a tremendously positive development. All but given up in late June, he has completely turned his season around since a brief stint on the DL with what the team called a shoulder injury but Haren has essentially admitted was merely a mental break for him. Whatever the reason, the veteran right-hander has returned a entirely different pitcher, finally resembling the guy the Nationals thought they were getting all along. Since returning on July 8, he now sports a 2.16 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He even recorded the first save of his career on Saturday night. Haren was back at it tonight, allowing just one run (Brian Bogusevic's solo homer in the fourth that barely cleared the shallow wall in right-center). He didn't walk a batter while striking out six. Quality work from a guy who has been a quality pitcher for the last six weeks.
Key stat: Since returning from Class AAA last week, Drew Storen has retired 12 of 13 batters faced.
Up next: Three straight night games at Wrigley Field? Say it ain't so! It is. The Nats and Cubs will be right back here at 8:5 p.m. Wednesday, when Ross Ohlendorf makes his return from the DL to face former Oriole Jake Arrieta.