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Seven-inning scoreless stint by Edwin Jackson buoys Cubs’ spirits

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Updated: July 12, 2013 12:01AM



As the Cubs prepared for Scott Baker’s first rehab assignment, and as Travis Wood prepared for his first All-Star Game, the team’s rotation got its first glimpse Thursday night of the Edwin Jackson the front office thought it was getting for $52 million.

What any of that might mean for a rotation on the verge of losing its best pitcher, Matt Garza, to another trade won’t be clear for at least a few more weeks.

But for now, the Cubs are looking at a historically slow-starting Jackson starting to heat up right about the time his track record suggests he does — and right about the time they need it most.

Jackson (6-10), whose four-year deal had been the punch line for his 1-8 start, pitched seven scoreless innings against the best lineup in the National League to beat the first-place St. Louis Cardinals 3-0.

“I’ve had some slow [starts]. This is probably the craziest start I’ve ever had in baseball,” Jackson said. “As long as you believe and you have the confidence that you can turn things around. No one expected me to start like I did — myself, the front office, the team, the manager. No one.

“But you can either sink or you can swim. I’m definitely one of those guys that won’t give up.”

Jackson’s final start before the break was by far his best, and it was his first without a walk. In his last three starts, he’s 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

“He’s trying to find himself,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said. “He’s always been a second-half guy, a strong finisher.”

Jackson, whose next start likely will come July 21 at Colorado, is typically at his best in August, during which he’s 18-9 with a 3.15 ERA in his career.

Notes

With four games left before the break, the Cubs brought up reliever Michael Bowden from Class AAA Iowa and sent down Brooks Raley — who would have been unavailable after pitching 41/3 innings Wednesday night.

◆ Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday could be out the rest of the series after hurting his hamstring trying to beat out a grounder in the fourth and ­leaving the game.

Brian Bogusevic (hamstring) returned to the lineup for the first time in more than a week, starting in center and taking a hit away from Matt Adams with a catch against the wall in the seventh.



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