Edwin Jackson aims to shake off a rough outing and pitch the Chicago Cubs to their first sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals since 2010 as the NL Central rivals wrap a three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
Jackson had gone 4-1 and allowed three earned runs or fewer in six straight starts before getting pounded in a loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday. The right- hander gave up seven runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks over five innings in that one.
It was the most earned runs allowed in a start for Jackson since he yielded a season-worst eight over 4 2/3 frames of a setback to San Diego on April 30.
"When you leave balls up, it's not real good," said Jackson. "Today was just one of those days where you don't find a rhythm and everything is up and you don't really have your stuff."
The 29-year-old is 7-12 with a 4.96 earned run average in 22 starts this year and faces the Cardinals for the third time. He picked up a loss in St. Louis back on June 19 after yielding four runs over 5 1/3 frames, but beat the Cardinals at home on July 11 with seven scoreless innings.
Jackson is 2-4 in nine lifetime meetings with St. Louis, all but one of those starts, with a 4.17 ERA.
Joe Kelly has helped to solidify the Cardinals' rotation as the fifth starter and aims for a third straight winning start.
Kelly is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in five straight starts since joining the rotation in July. He has allowed six runs over 29 innings in that time and is coming off a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 25-year-old righty stretched his scoreless innings streak to 20 before giving up a run over his 5 1/3 frames of work. He moved to 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 27 appearances this year, including six starts.
Kelly made a start versus the Cubs on July 12 and allowed a run in 5 1/3 innings of a victory. He is 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA lifetime versus Chicago in four games (2 starts).
The Cubs are looking to sweep the Cardinals for the first time since a three- game set in St. Louis from Sept. 13-15, 2010 and rallied to win Saturday's meeting 6-5.
Down by two runs in the eighth inning, Welington Castillo and Nate Schierholtz drew walks off reliever Trevor Rosenthal before Darwin Barney roped a a double to center that scored both runners.
"He had been getting pitches up the whole inning," said Barney. "I just kept telling myself to look for something down or near the middle. I got one of those and I was able to get a good swing on it."
Dioner Navarro, in his first appearance since suffering a right ankle injury in a collision at the plate on Wednesday versus Philadelphia, followed with a pinch-hit double to put the Cubs in front and Schierholtz added an RBI single in the ninth.
That proved big after Matt Holliday hit a solo homer in the ninth for the Cardinals, but Kevin Gregg retired the next two batters on groundouts for his 25th save of the season.
Castillo added a solo homer for the Cubs, who have won three of their last four.
Holliday had two home runs -- his first since July 9, and drove in four runs, while Carlos Beltran added a run-scoring double. However, St. Louis lost its fourth straight and for the 13th time in its last 17 games, remaining four contests behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for first place in the NL Central.
The Cardinals open a three-game set at home with the Pirates on Tuesday.
Chicago and St. Louis have now split their 12 meetings this season.