Jackson dominates D-backs in final tuneup
Right-hander allows one hit over four innings with two strikeouts
PHOENIX -- Edwin Jackson bounced back from a shaky start his last time out to end his spring on a high note on Friday while Trevor Cahill battled his way through six strenuous innings as the Cubs defeated the D-backs, 3-1, at Chase Field in an exhibition contest.
Jackson, who will open his regular season Wednesday in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, cruised through four innings, allowing just one hit while striking out a pair. Jackson's best outing of the spring came after the right-hander surrendered four runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings vs. the Reds last Saturday.
Jackson finishes the spring with a 4.00 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17 innings of work.
"It's the last game to really go in and fine-tune things before we get started officially," Jackson said. "I just wanted to end on a positive note going into the season. I'm feeling pretty good and just came out throwing strikes."
The right-hander led the National League in losses last year with 18, and was eager to start with a clean slate.
"I'm excited," Jackson said. "Last year was a crazy year and it wasn't a year I wanted to have. I'm going to go out and play the way I know I can play. I haven't lost any confidence -- I never lost any confidence last year. It was a tough season but at the end of the day, I came in the clubhouse, the same person, day in and day out. I'm ready to go out and show what I can do."
Cahill hoped to show some improvement back on American soil after giving up five runs over four innings in a regular season loss to the Dodgers in Australia last week. Instead, his rough spring continued as he allowed eight hits and three walks in his six frames on Friday. He did, however, manage to limit the damage to three runs while striking out five batters.
"He was better tonight," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Better rhythm and repeated his delivery better. He tried to work on his pace and go quicker, I thought he did a pretty good job of it. He stayed with it, sometimes he overthinks it. Overall, he's headed in the right direction."
Cahill will take the mound again on Wednesday vs. the Giants in the D-backs' third home game of the year.
The Cubs got on the board in the first inning when Emilio Bonifacio doubled and came around to score on Anthony Rizzo's RBI groundout.
The Cubs struck again in the fourth, as when Ryan Sweeney smacked a single to left field, driving in Rizzo to make it 2-0.
Nate Schierholtz provided the other RBI for Chicago in the fifth, singling to center to once again plate Rizzo.
Evan Marzilli doubled in the eighth to score Cliff Pennington for Arizona's lone run.
Up next: Jason Hammel closes the Cubs' exhibition season with a start Saturday against the D-backs at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Hammel is scheduled to start the series finale in Pittsburgh in the third game of the regular season. Instant replay will be in effect for Saturday's game, the last chance for manager Rick Renteria to test the new system. The game will be broadcast for free on MLB.TV and on Comcast SportsNet, and also WGN Radio, starting at 3:10 p.m. CT.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.