LIVE: Cubs wrap up series vs. Cardinals on CSN

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LIVE: Cubs wrap up series vs. Cardinals on CSN

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011
Posted: 10:35 a.m.

Associated Press

When he was acquired in July, Edwin Jackson said he was happy to try to help the St. Louis Cardinals return to the postseason.

After the Cardinals pulled off a stunning victory, the right-hander gets his chance to make a big contribution Sunday against the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Heading into Saturday, St. Louis (87-71) was three games behind Atlanta in the NL wild card race with five games remaining for each team. The Cardinals also trailed Chicago 1-0 heading into the ninth inning, but a single and a trio of two-out walks brought home the tying run.

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol followed with a wild pitch, which gave St. Louis a 2-1 victory and allowed it to take advantage of the Braves' loss in Washington.

"I think people have written us off several times, and I think probably before today they probably wrote us off again," pitcher Kyle Lohse said. "To show we can gut it out, come back with a big win like that, is huge."

Whether St. Louis can cut its deficit to one game might hinge on Jackson's performance in the series finale. The right-hander was acquired from Toronto on July 27 after he was traded from the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day.

"It's not a bad situation for me, to get thrown into the fire on a team that's definitely chasing a playoff berth," Jackson told the Cardinals' official website two days after the deal. "It's a chance to go into the postseason, I'm happy to be thrown into the mix here."

Jackson (5-2, 3.73 ERA) has performed well in most of his 11 starts for St. Louis and has won his last three decisions. However, he gave up five runs, nine hits and four walks in his last outing during the Cardinals' 11-6 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Jackson fared better July 29 in his Cardinals debut, allowing one run over seven innings in a 9-2 victory in his only previous start against the Cubs (70-88) at Busch Stadium. Although he lost at Wrigley Field on Aug. 20, he's 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts against the Cubs this season for St. Louis and the White Sox.

He'll pitch opposite Randy Wells (7-5, 5.09), who has struggled in his last two starts after a promising stretch.

The right-hander gave up five runs for the second straight game Tuesday during a 5-1 loss to Milwaukee, his first defeat in 10 starts since July 28. Wells had won five consecutive decisions before that outing and was 3-0 with a 1.26 ERA in four starts Aug. 24-Sept. 10.

"He just couldn't control the damage," manager Mike Quade told the team's website. "He's been pitching well, and in some of his starts he's been able to do that."

Wells is 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals, with no record and a 5.68 ERA in two matchups this season.

Lance Berkman, batting .405 during a 12-game hit streak, is 3 for 12 with five walks in his career against the right-hander but 0 for 4 this season.

Albert Pujols, 2 for 5 with a home run versus Wells in 2011, has reached base in 40 consecutive contests. The Cardinals first baseman has batted .371 with 10 homers during the longest such streak in the majors this season.

St. Louis has managed just three runs in the first two games of this series, but Matt Holliday's bat might help. The outfielder returned Saturday after a nine-game absence due to a finger injury, and his single sparked the ninth-inning rally, which improved the Cardinals to 15-7 in September.

After Sunday's game, St. Louis finishes the regular season with three at Houston.

"We have to win every single game," utility man Skip Schumaker said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

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Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Ryan Dempster. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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