On a night when, by his own admission, he didn’t have his best stuff, Edwin Jackson held the San Francisco Giants to one run on five hits, with the only run he allowed coming on a solo home run by the second batter he faced in what ended up a six-inning, 100-pitch outing.
“Jackson was a little shaky early, had a lot of pitches,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the 3-1 win over the Giants, “... but he settled down in the middle innings and took us to the seventh, then the seven-eight-and-nine guys did their job again.”
“Today was definitely one of those dig deep and see what you’re made of days,” Jackson told reporters after the outing.
“I was fortunate enough to come out with good results and also help the bullpen at the same time, and salvage six innings.”
That start left the 33-year-old right-hander (3-2) in five outings with Washington, over which he’s put up a 3.30 ERA, seven walks, 25 Ks, and a .223/.269/.438 line against in 30 IP.
Jackson worked around doubles in each of his first two innings on the mound Thursday night in San Diego, CA’s Petco Park, on an efficient 17 pitches, but the Padres’ third two-base hit of the night led to a run with Manuel Margot lining a one-out double to left in the third before scoring on a two-out RBI single by Jose Pirela, 1-1.
Jackson threw just 17 pitches total in scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, working around back-to-back, one-out singles in the bottom of the fifth, with a 6-4-3 DP ending an eight-pitch frame that left him at 58 total after five, and he worked around a one-out single in a 12-pitch sixth, and a one-out walk in a 13-pitch seventh that ended his outing after just 83 pitches.
Ryan Zimmerman put the Nationals up with a two-out opposite field blast that made it a 2-1 game in the eighth, and Brandon Kintzler and Sean Doolittle locked down the 2-1 win.
“He was dealing,” Baker said when he spoke about Jackson’s outing after the game.
“He spread out some hits, he got a big double play when he needed it, and he was very efficient in his pitch count tonight, the most efficient he’s been since he’s been here.
“He pitched a very good game tonight.”
Jackson’s success since he joined the Nationals, Baker said, is a sign of the growth he’s made, even in his 15th season in the majors.
“I don’t know,” Baker said. “No. 1, he’s a great competitor. He finds a way to keep us in the ballgame. And it looked like he’s gaining more and more confidence, and he’s getting more control of the strike zone, because before he would spray some balls and his pitch count would get high, and he trusts his defense, and he wants to do whatever he can to contribute to this club.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about trusting your stuff, trusting what you have and letting your defense work behind you,” Jackson said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game.
“It just seems like he’s working with Mike [Maddux] and he’s concentrating a little better and relaxing,” Baker said, “especially early in the at bat.
“You learn in time, and if you don’t learn and change your ways, then you’ll struggle forever, and he’s one of those guys who kind of reminds me of Dave Stewart, where they struggle for a while and have moments of greatness and then after a while, you figure it out, and he’s figured it out so far, and what stands out to me is that his arm is still fresh and strong while he’s figured it out.
“A lot of times, guys figure it out after they hurt their arms and they lose their stuff.
“But he’s been fortunate enough to stay healthy and his arm is still fresh while he’s figuring it out.”