Scoring may be more frequent for both teams if Chicago starter Edwin Jackson can't end his struggles versus the Milwaukee Brewers and Wily Peralta is unable to overcome his recent woes Wednesday night.
The Brewers (46-61) haven't let any of the drama surrounding Ryan Braun 's suspension bother them the past two days, as they broke open a scoreless game with a big ninth inning to win 5-0 on Monday before sweeping Tuesday's day-night doubleheader from their NL Central rivals.
Khris Davis hit a three-run homer in a four-run seventh to give Milwaukee a 6-5 win in Game 1, then Jeff Bianchi hit a two-run single off a diving Starlin Castro 's glove with two out in the ninth of Game 2 for a 3-2 victory.
Milwaukee hasn't completed a four-game sweep of Chicago since joining the NL in 1997."That's what's great about this game," Bianchi said. "You get a chance in the (top) of the ninth to redeem yourself a little bit for the mistakes early on in the game."
The Cubs (48-58) have allowed 14 runs in the series, 11 coming in the seventh inning or later. They've also been limited to seven runs offensively while being held scoreless in 25 of the series' 27 innings.
"We had the bullpen set up the way we wanted it with some guys down and obviously just couldn't get it done," manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs' starters have a 1.35 ERA over their last five games, but the bullpen has a 10.57 ERA with two blown saves in this series. They will look to Jackson (6-11, 4.89 ERA) on Wednesday to continue his solid second half.
Jackson pitched well again Friday, allowing two runs in 6 2-3 innings before the Cubs rallied for a 3-2 win at San Francisco. He's 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA over his last five starts.
"Statistically, I've always been a second-half guy," Jackson said. "Sometimes the ball rolls in your favor, sometimes it doesn't. I don't feel like I've made any huge changes. I'm just trying to attack the strike zone."
The right-hander has had a difficult time with Milwaukee this season, though, dropping all three starts while posting a 6.48 ERA.
Peralta (7-10, 4.54) has fared better against the Cubs - going 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three starts - though he hopes this one goes better than the last. He gave up seven runs - three earned - in five innings of a 7-2 loss to Chicago on June 27.
The right-hander had gone 3-1 with a 0.87 ERA in his previous six starts before giving up eight runs - five earned - in just 3 2-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Colorado on Friday."It was a tough outing, man," Peralta said. "The starts before I was doing good because I was able to keep the fastball down. "I (didn't get) my slider, so I just leave a lot of fastballs up in the zone."
Milwaukee has won seven of the last nine matchups with Chicago, but it still trails the fourth-place Cubs by 2 1/2 games at the bottom of the Central.
|July 30, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||Day-to-Day||Left hamstring tightness|
|July 27, 2013||Jean Segura||Day-to-Day||Right forearm tightness|
|July 23, 2013||Donovan Hand||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|July 21, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|July 09, 2013||Norichika Aoki||Day-to-Day||Left elbow tightness|
|July 07, 2013||Aramis Ramirez||15-Day DL||Sprained left knee|
|July 15, 2013||Brian Bogusevic||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|July 08, 2013||Welington Castillo||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|June 30, 2013||Ryan Sweeney||60-Day DL||Fractured left rib|
|June 15, 2013||David DeJesus||15-Day DL||Right shoulder sprain|
|June 15, 2013||David DeJesus||15-Day DL||Right shoulder sprain|
|June 12, 2013||Zach Putnam||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Edwin Jackson listened to music and rode a stationary bike during a rain delay in the sixth inning.
When the showers stopped and the tarp was pulled off the field, he was ready to go.
Jackson returned to the mound after the 66-minute delay and pitched eight solid innings, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 on Wednesday for their only victory of the four-game series.
"It doesn't really affect you," Jackson said, shrugging off the pause for the weather. "Just have to stay warm, stay loose."
David DeJesus drove in three runs and Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer as Chicago closed out a 14-13 July, its first winning calendar month since it went 15-10 last July. Starlin Castro had two hits, including a solo homer.
DeJesus had an RBI single in the fourth and singled home two more in the sixth. He is batting .355 (11 for 31) in nine games since coming off the disabled list.
"It was like us trading for a new player when we got DeJesus back in the lineup," manager Dale Sveum said. "I mean he just gives you those quality at-bats."
Jonathan Lucroy had two doubles for Milwaukee, driving in Rickie Weeks with a grounder down the first-base line in the eighth. Jeff Bianchi and Caleb Gindl also had two hits apiece.
Wily Peralta (7-11) allowed four runs, three earned, and five hits in five innings. He was coming off a rough start at Colorado, when he was charged with five earned runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings.
"I think I had a better slider than last time," Peralta said. "Off-speed was good too, but I hang a couple of them and I paid for it."
The Cubs bounced back from a frustrating doubleheader sweep on Tuesday, when they blew late leads in each game. They also dropped the series opener on Monday when the Brewers scored five times in the ninth inning of a 5-0 victory.
Rizzo went deep in the third, driving a 3-1 pitch over the wall in center for his 15th homer - matching his career high set a year ago. Castro connected an inning later, making it 3-0 with a drive to the bleachers in left.
"It's an ever-going process," said Rizzo, who went 6 for 14 in the series. "You just got to show up every day and prepare, do your best and play hard. Really grind the at-bats and try to take good swings and just go from there."
The six runs were more than enough for Jackson (7-11), who allowed eight hits in his longest outing of the season. The right-hander finished July with a 3-1 record and a 1.83 ERA in five starts.
"When his command's on, he's going to throw a good game," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He had good command today. I think the last four or five games, he's thrown the ball really well. "
The Brewers got a runner to third in the third, fourth and fifth innings and failed to score each time. Lucroy was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Julio Borbon when he tried to score from second on Gindl's base hit in the fourth.
Chicago and Milwaukee, the two worst teams in the NL Central, did not make a trade on a quiet deadline day throughout baseball. The Cubs and Cardinals talked about veteran catcher Dioner Navarro , but he was still in Chicago at the end of the night.
"I think one thing is obvious from today, if you look around the league, is that people hold real tight to their young players," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "We need to get a lot more of them. That part isn't going to change."
There wasn't much left for Hoyer to trade by the end of the month. The Cubs made three major deals in July, trading away pitchers Scott Feldman and Matt Garza , and slugger Alfonso Soriano . They received an array of prospects in return, strengthening their burgeoning minor league system.
While Chicago (49-58) tries to avoid a fourth consecutive losing season, Hoyer thinks there is hope for the future.
"We never got that close, actually, in the last couple days to doing anything," he said. "The good thing is I feel like we were incredibly productive this month. Made a lot of deals, I feel like we got a lot better as an organization this month."
Milwaukee (46-62) traded reliever Francisco Rodriguez to Baltimore last week for minor league infielder Nick Delmonico, but that was it for July. There was thought to be further interest in its bullpen, namely left-hander Mike Gonzalez .
Roenicke said he had talked to general manager Doug Melvin in the last few days and wasn't surprised when the non-waiver deadline passed without a deal.
"That's fine with me," Roenicke said. "I know with just moving Frankie how much it's changed what I have to do, you know, with the bullpen. It's hard. It's hard when you lose guys."
NOTES: The Brewers put RHP Yovani Gallardo on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, and Roenicke said RHP Tyler Thornburg will take Gallardo's spot in the rotation. INF Scooter Gennett , who served as the Brewers' 26th man during Tuesday's doubleheader, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville, and then recalled to the major league club. ... Hoyer said the team has talked to the agent for RHP Jeff Samardzija about a contract extension. ... Milwaukee is off Thursday before opening a weekend series at home against Washington on Friday night. ... The Cubs begin a four-game series against Los Angeles on Thursday night, with LHP Chris Rusin (1-0, 2.93 ERA) slated to face Dodgers RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.72 ERA).
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap