Very little about the Nationals' 4-1 victory over the Cubs Tuesday night was aesthetically pleasing. Dan Haren feeling a bit off after making a surprise relief appearance only three days earlier gutted his way through six innings on the mound. Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman committed errors on routine plays. Baserunning mistakes were made. Rafael Soriano gave up yet another ninth-inning homer.

And then there was the Nationals' lineup which merely put 21 men on base over nine innings somehow managing to push only four of them across the plate. Two of them in the top of the ninth.

"Some of the ways we're finding ways to get out is unbelievable" Desmond said. "It's bound to change at some point. It did in the ninth and hopefully we can continue to do that and hopefully it carries over."

There were no complaints from the Nationals clubhouse after this one though. Wins have become too rare for this team so they'll gladly take them however they can.

If nothing else the Nationals know right now they can count on Haren to give them a chance to win every time he takes the mound a statement that would have sounded ludicrous only six weeks ago but has held true since.

Reinvigorated since a brief stint on the disabled list in late June Haren has dramatically morphed into one of the NL's most-effective pitchers. With six innings of one-run ball on Tuesday he improved to 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA over his last nine appearances.

"He's shown he's a quality pitcher" manager Davey Johnson said. "I think the adjustment to the new league and feeling better with his arm having some difficulty with it [hurt him] but he's bounced back and pitched great."

Haren has also shown surprising versatility summoned to close out Saturday night's 15-inning win in Atlanta and notch the first save of his 11-year career.

Still feeling some effects from that outing only three nights earlier Haren admittedly wasn't in peak form when he took the mound Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

"Physically I felt fine" he said. "It was just tough to get loose. Obviously I wasn't 100 percent sharp coming out of the gates but luckily I kind of loosened up as the game was going."