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Jackson loses 18th, Cardinals beat Cubs 6-2

Saturday, 28 September 2013 21:59 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Edwin Jackson would like to throw 2013 out, please, and prove he's worth it to the Chicago Cubs for the next three years.

Jackson leads the majors with 18 losses after making an early exit due to mild side discomfort in a 6-2 setback to the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

"It's just a crazy year, man," Jackson said. "If I had the answer I would have changed it a long time ago.

"It's just one of those years, you just forget it, but you still learn from it."

Jackson (8-18) was tagged for six runs on eight hits in 2 2-3 innings and finished with a 4.98 ERA. He said tightness kept him from full extension on his pitches.

The Cubs signed Jackson, who has a career record of 78-89, to a four-year, $52 million free agent deal last winter. This season ended a run of five consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.

"A lot of people want to throw one season away in their career," manage Dale Sveum said. "It's over and it's just time to start from scratch in spring training."

Adam Wainwright earned his 19th victory in a tuneup for the NL division series opener and the Cardinals showed no letup a day after clinching the divison with their fifth straight win.

Matt Holliday homered for the second day in a row and Yadier Molina drove in two runs for St. Louis (96-65), which entered the day tied with Atlanta for the NL lead in wins.

The start time was moved up three hours to avoid a forecast of later storms. The Cardinals mailed vouchers to all ticket holders, whether they attended or not, for a game in 2014. The crowd of 42,520 was a few thousand shy of a sellout.

Wainwright (19-9) allowed two hits in shutout 5 1-3 innings and tied for the league lead in victories with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who lost his last scheduled start Wednesday in St. Louis.

According to STATS, Wainwright is the third Cardinals pitcher to lead the league in victories twice, also doing it with 19 wins in 2009.

Dizzy Dean (1934-35) and Mort Cooper (1942-43) are the other Cardinals pitchers to twice lead the league in wins. Bob Gibson did it once.

The Cubs averted a second straight shutout loss by scoring twice in the ninth against former St. Louis closer Edward Mujica.

Anthony Rizzo led off with a homer and Donnie Murphy had an RBI double against Mujica, who has allowed 18 hits in 7 1-3 innings with two blown saves this month and lost his job to rookie Trevor Rosenthal.

Seth Maness earned his first career save by getting Darwin Barney on a double-play ball.

The Cubs have lost 11 of 14, scoring two or fewer runs nine times in that stretch.

Wainwright got his sixth RBI of the season with a single off third baseman Donnie Murphy's glove in a four-run third.

Wainwright entered 1-6 with a 5.16 ERA at home against the Cubs. He's 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA at Wrigley Field.

Holliday hit his 22nd homer, a two-run drive in the first. The Cardinals broke away in the third when Holliday and Matt Adams drew one-out walks ahead of Molina's two-run double, and Pete Kozma had an RBI single.

NOTES: The Cardinals are giving Jake Westbrook (7-8, 4.67) a spot start in the finale and Joe Kelly will follow in relief in a postseason tuneup. The Cubs' Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33) is 0-1 in his last five starts but has had strong performances with no decision his last two times out. ... According to STATS, Jackson is among five pitchers since 2000 to throw a no-hitter and later lose 17 or more games. Also on the list are Ubaldo Jimenez last year, Derek Lowe in 2011 and Justin Verlander in 2008, all with 17 losses.

Fisher reflects on frustrating loss

Friday, 27 September 2013 22:51 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Just over 16 hours after a 35-11 loss to San Francisco, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher was finally able to come to grips with the setback.

Fisher angrily stormed out of Thursday's post-game news conference after just two questions. The 1-minute, 32-second briefing provided little insight into the team's dismal performance,

On Friday afternoon, after a night of sleep, Fisher was able to reflect on the sluggish effort that he called "frustrating."

"But we found out where our team is and what we need to do and where we need improve on," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do as a staff. Fortunately, we have some extra time, some extra days to get focused."

Fisher's club has dropped the last two games by a combined 66-18, marking the second-worst consecutive defeats in his 19-year head coaching career. Under Fisher in 2009, the Tennessee Titans lost to Indianapolis 31-9 and New England 59-0 in Weeks 5 and 6.

St. Louis (1-3) hosts Jacksonville on Oct. 6.

Thursday's loss to the 49ers took a physical toll as well. Safety T.J. McDonald broke his right leg and has been placed on the designated injured reserve list. He will be out at least six weeks, but could return to the team.

"We're fortunate that it will not have to be surgically repaired," Fisher said. "It is not season-ending."

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan and linebacker Will Witherspoon suffered hamstring injuries and are considered day to day.

Fisher felt the lack of a running game and the inability to stop the 49ers' rushing attack played major roles in the loss. Frank Gore tore through the St. Louis defense for 153 yards. Offensively, the Rams rushed 19 times for 18 yards.

"We'll get it fixed," Fisher said. "We've got to adjust our offensive philosophy to what's better suited for us right now, and that's to hand it off. And then everything else spins off of that."

Despite the rough start to the season, Fisher said his players are handling the adversity well.

"They're really good, they're going to be fine," he said. "They're better than (just) hanging in there."

Quarterback Sam Bradford hit on 19 of 41 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"I thought he did the best he could considering the circumstances," Fisher said.

Bradford connected with Lance Kendricks on a 6-yard scoring toss with 5:44 left.

The Rams will get four days off and return to practice Tuesday. Fisher is hoping the time off will help his players get things turned around

"I know they're excited to get away and come back and prepare for our next opponent," he said.

Cardinals clinch NL Central, beat Cubs 7-0

Friday, 27 September 2013 22:48 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their first NL Central title in four years, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 Friday night behind the strong pitching of Lance Lynn and home runs by David Freese and Matt Holliday.

St. Louis (95-65) has won six of seven and is tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NL. They are assured of home-field advantage when the NL division series starts Thursday.

Adam Wainwright (18-9) was moved up to start Saturday, putting the St. Louis ace on track to start his team's postseason opener against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

(backslash)A near-sellout crowd of 44,030 was on its feet, roaring and clapping in unison the final half-inning, then snapping pictures and applauding while the team celebrated near the mound. After the final out, Cardinals players put on T-shirts that read: "We Own The Central."

The Cubs have lost 12 of 16 and watched an opponent clinch for the third time within a week. The Braves wrapped up the NL East on Sunday at Wrigley Field and the Pirates secured a playoff spot in Chicago the following day.

Lynn (15-10) struck out six in a row, starting with Dioner Navarro to end the first. He fanned seven his first time through the order and allowed just four hits over six innings with nine strikeouts and no walks. Lynn has won consecutive starts after a skid in which he was 0-5 with a 5.44 ERA in eight outings.

Leadoff man Starlin Castro had three hits, including a third-inning single that stopped Lynn strikeout streak,

Yadier Molina had two hits and three RBIs to set a single-season best with 78, Jon Jay had two hits and an RBI and leadoff man Matt Carpenter had a single that left him one hit shy of 200.

Travis Wood (9-12) gave up three runs and four hits, leaving after just one inning - when he reached 200 in a season for the first time.

Six batters reached safely with two out: Molina had a two-run double off the left-field wall and Jay extended his hitting streak to 12 with an RBI single.

Holliday hit his 250th career homer and 21st this season leading off the sixth off Blake Parker.

NOTES: Both benches were warned in the sixth after Lynn's high fastball struck Navarro on an arm. ... Lynn's strikeout run was the Cardinals' longest since 2009, when John Smoltz fanned seven Padres in a row in his St. Louis debut. ... Edwin Jackson (8-17, 4.74) is the Cubs starter Saturday. ... Cardinals cleanup man Allen Craig (left mid-foot sprain) was ruled out for the NL division series. ... Wood and Jeff Samardzija are among three NL duos with 200 innings apiece and are the Cubs' first since Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly in 2008. ... Molina is batting .437 against the Cubs (21 for 48) with a team-high 13 RBIs. ... The Cubs are 12-74 when allowing four runs or more.

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