Edwin Jackson gave up five hits and four runs (two on a two-run home run) in the first inning of his outing against Chicago last weekend in Wrigley Field, but he went on to complete four scoreless innings after that, in what ended up a 7-4 loss to the Cubs.
He gave up just one hit the rest of the way in the 101-pitch start.
“It’s just keeping the ball down [in the] first inning,” Jackson said after the game.
“They got a couple big hits with balls up in the zone, [the two-run] homer ultimately was the biggest hit of the inning.”
Jackson was able to move on from the rough first, and limit the damage.
“‘Okay, damage has been done in the first inning,” he said he told himself, “‘it’s over and there’s nothing I can do about it, make my adjustments and keep us intact.’”
San Francisco Giants’ infielder Joe Panik got to Jackson early in the series opener in D.C. on Saturday night, hitting a 2-1 fastball out to right field for a 1-0 lead early (or late since the game didn’t start until 10:05 PM).
With the Nats up 2-1 after one, in an inning which saw Bryce Harper go down with an injury, Jackson worked around the two singles that started the Giants’ second in a 24-pitch frame that had him up to 47 after two.
He was at 75 pitches overall after he worked around a two-out walk in the third and retired the side in order in a 10-pitch fourth, and he’d retired 12 of 14 following the Giants’ back-to-back singles in the second after he worked around a one-out walk to Denard Span in the fifth.
Jackson’s 10-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth left him at 100 pitches even, and Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker went to the bullpen in the seventh with the Nationals up 3-1 at that point.
Edwin Jackson’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 58 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle locked down the win, giving the Nationals their third straight win.
“Jackson was a little shaky early, had a lot of pitches, but he settled down in the middle innings and took us to the seventh,” Baker told reporters after the game “... then the seven-eight-and-nine guys did their job again. I’m just glad that we have them, and all the new guys that we acquired, including Jackson, the new and renewed Jackson, I’m just glad that he gave us a victory tonight and we had just enough offense.”
“Today was definitely one of those dig deep and see what you’re made of days,” Jackson said after the game.
“I was fortunate enough to come out with good results and also help the bullpen at the same time, and salvage six innings. It’s one of those days where you don’t really have your best stuff. [Matt] Wieters did a great job of keeping me in the game and help bringing me back when I got out of sync and was able to make some plays and make some pitches, and a great team effort, nice defensive plays behind me as always, and it’s just one of those games where it’s a great team effort.”
Jackson, and the rest of the Nationals, had to wait out a three-plus hour rain delay before starting the game, but the veteran right-hander said it was part of the gig.
“It’s a little tough, but that’s what we have to do as a professional, we have to make those adjustments, and no one wants to hear excuses about the time. It’s tough for both teams, and both teams came out and played a good game.”
Jackson earned the win, improving to (3-2) in five starts with the Nationals, over which the 33-year-old right-hander has a 3.30 ERA and a .223/.269/.438 line against in 30 IP.