The recent cold spell in Chicago must have done a number on the Cubs' bats.
The Cubs dropped their second straight game to their crosstown rivals as the White Sox took Game 2 5-1 in front of 34,305 fans at Wrigley Field.
Edwin Jackson started for the Cubs and said he was wanting to build off Jeff Samardzija's stellar outing in the Crosstown opener. Instead, he got Samardzija's luck as the Cubs totaled just four hits - all singles - in the loss.
"Not very good [approach]," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said after the game. "And the guys know it. We had a chance to work [Sox starter Hector] Noesi a little bit, but we did not do that, obviously."
Emilio Bonifacio's RBI single in the fifth inning was the only tally of the night against Noesi, who had allowed 14 runs in 11.1 innings entering the day.
Through the first two games of Crosstown, Cubs hitters are a combined 8-for-68 (.118 average) with just two runs in 21 innings. They have also struck out 18 times against eight walks and the only extra-base hit came off the bat of Samardzija Monday night.
Samardzija, who has not received much in the way of run support all season, shut the White Sox down for nine innings Monday night and sparked Jackson to follow in his footsteps.
"Samardzija threw a hell of a game. I can't lie and say that didn't give me some extra motivation today to come out and follow up that performance with a strong outing," Jackson said.
"You see a guy go out and bust his butt like that and throw a hell of a game, it gives you confidence the next day to come in and try to follow that up with another great game. That's what winning teams do. You see pitchers just feed off each other from outing to outing."
Jackson signed a four-year, $52 million free agent deal with the Cubs before the 2013 season and has fallen short of expectations so far, but called Tuesday his best start in a Cubs uniform.
He was nearly dominant against his former team, striking out nine and walking none in seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits. He got ahead early and often, racking up 10 0-2 counts on the night.
"I just continue to work hard and continue to battle," he said. "You don't get too complacent from starts like this. You just build off them and continue to get stronger."
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"Jackson did a great job," Renteria said. "He threw really, really well. Right from the get-go. Was making pitches, finishing hitters. All in all, probably one of his better outings."
The bullpen struggled again for the Cubs. Rookie Neil Ramirez gave up his first career big-league homer to Gordon Beckham in the eighth and was saddled with the loss.
Pedro Strop got rocked in the ninth, allowing three insurance runs to the South Siders. Beckham and Moises Sierra entered the day hitting a combined .117 (9-for-77), but collected eight hits in nine tries off Cubs pitching.
The series moves to the South Side for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Thursday night. Catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet.