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Big-money righthander Edwin Jackson still not getting it done

Cubs starting pitcher EdwJackssignals infield during Reds three-run foutth inning. The Chicago Cubs fell 7-4 Cincinnati Reds Sunday May 5

Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson signals to the infield during the Reds three-run foutth inning. The Chicago Cubs fell 7-4 to the Cincinnati Reds Sunday May 5, 2013 at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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How they scored

Reds fOURTH Votto singled. Phillips singled, Votto to second. Bruce doubled, Votto scored, Phillips to third. Frazier singled, Phillips scored, Bruce scored. Three runs. Reds 3, Cubs 0.

Reds fifth Choo singled, stole second and took third on Navarro’s throwing error. Cozart hit a sacrifice fly, Choo scored. One run. Reds 4, Cubs 0.

Cubs fifth Borbon pinch-hitting for E.Jackson. Borbon lined out. DeJesus struck out. S.Castro singled. Rizzo singled, S.Castro to second. A.Soriano doubled, S.Castro scored, Rizzo scored. Schierholtz singled, A.Soriano scored. Three runs. Reds 4, Cubs 3.

Reds seventh Camp pitching. Lutz singled. Choo grounded out, Lutz to second. Cozart walked. Votto doubled, Lutz scored, Cozart to third. Phillips hit a sacrifice fly, Cozart scored, Votto to third. Two runs. Reds 6, Cubs 3.

Cubs seventh DeJesus doubled. S.Castro grounded out, DeJesus to third. Rizzo grounded out, DeJesus scored. One run. Reds 6, Cubs 4.

Reds eighth Loe pitching. Frazier walked. Hannahan pinch-hitting for LeCure. Hannahan walked, Frazier to second. Mesoraco infield single, Frazier to third, Hannahan to second. Lutz grounded into fielder’s choice, Frazier scored, Hannahan to third, Mesoraco out. One run. Reds 7, Cubs 4.

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The Cubs were convinced they would be a more competitive team this season with better balance in the lineup.

They thought the rotation would be upgraded as well with the addition of Edwin Jackson, who was given a four-year, $54 million deal.

But the offense has struggled to hit with runners in scoring position, and Jackson has endured one bad, costly inning in almost all of his seven starts.

Jackson fell to 0-5 on Sunday after the Cubs’ 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, who swept the three-game series at Wrigley Field. The Reds entered the series with only three road victories.

“Most of his [problems] have come down to an inning,’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Jackson, whose ERA climbed to 6.39. “You’re dealing with 90 percent of his innings that are dominant and then one inning where the fastball command is lost and then things break down.”

This time it was the fourth inning, when the Reds scored three runs.

“He just got a few fastballs up in the zone and got hit,’’ Sveum said. “I thought he was a little better today, but he’s a little stymied now.’’

Jackson gave up eight runs in 42/3 innings in his last start Tuesday against the San Diego Padres. On Sunday, he allowed four runs, eight hits and one walk and struck out five.

“I felt pretty good today but couldn’t avoid the big inning, but I felt we were attacking the hitters at a pretty good pace,’’ he said.

The loss was the fourth in a row for the Cubs, who stranded nine runners and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They continue to be baseball’s worst hitting team in that department (.181).

“Going into the season, we all said we had a much more competitive team,’’ Sveum said. “We said we’d keep the line moving a little more with the left-handers we had in the lineup.

“But the back end of the bullpen has cost us, and some miscues on the field have cost some of our starters some really good outings as well.

“It’s just a shame knowing if we played really clean baseball and had a dominating bullpen, this [record] could be flipped. It’s frustrating.”

The Cubs used four relievers, including Carlos Marmol, who took the loss a day earlier when he couldn’t retire a batter in the eighth.

This time he quickly retired three in the sixth inning with a strikeout and two grounders.

“I’m glad he gave me the ball,” said Marmol, who talked to Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio before the game. “I’m trying to do some things different. I want to pitch, no matter what.”

The defense continues to sputter, committing an error for a total of 25, one fewer than the National League-worst Washington Nationals.

Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney made a run-saving stop on Shin-Soo Choo’s ground ball in the seventh, but the Reds eventually scored twice in the inning. Barney’s bat has yet to get on track. He’s hitting .159.

“The pitches are getting deep on him. That’s the bottom line with fastballs,” Sveum said. “We have to keep working and get [him] out of it because we need him to do something with [the bottom] of the order.’’

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