Jackson spoils Castro’s 2-HR night in Cubs’ loss
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Sports Reporter April 8, 2014 10:30PM
Updated: April 9, 2014 10:10AM
Not even the most powerful game of Starlin Castro’s career could overcome the poor pitching of Edwin Jackson as the Cubs lost 7-6 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night.
Not even an angry Rick Renteria – who was ejected in the ninth inning for ripping into home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson over his strike zone with struggling reliever Jose Veras on the mound.
The Cubs dropped to 2-5 this season despite their second-highest run total so far.
Batting sixth for the second consecutive game, Castro delivered his first multi-homer game with a pair of line drives over the left field wall off Pirates starter Charlie Morton and drove in four runs in all.
Castro is 7-for-his-last-12 and suddenly is hitting .310 with an .885 OPS seven games into the season. He leads the club with six RBIs.
The Cubs tied it in the seventh on Anthony Rizzo’s single up the middle to drive home Emilio Bonifacio – who had another three hits Tuesday.
But after Pedro Strop walked to of the first three batters he faced in the eighth, left-hander James Russell took over – and walked lefty hitter Pedro Alvarez on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, then gave up the go-ahead sacrifice fly to Russell Martin.
Cubs starter Jackson didn’t figure into the decision. He didn’t do anything to suggest he’s moved past last year’s career-worst performance, either.
The Pirates batted around on Jackson in the first inning to take a quick 4-0 lead, Alvarez driving in a pair with a one-out double.
And even after the Cubs came back to tie on Castro’s first homer, in the third, Jackson quickly gave up a go-ahead run in the fourth – on a pair of two-out walks followed by Andrew McCutchen’s run-scoring single to center.
After allowing another run on a double and one-out triple, he was done – pitching just 4 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on nine hits, four walks (one intentional) and a hit batter.