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Rapid Reaction: Pirates 4, Cubs 2

5/23/2013

PITTSBURGH -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday:

How it happened: Before the rains came, the Pirates jumped all over starter Edwin Jackson, who once again wasn't sharp. Jackson gave up a pair of runs -- on six hits -- in each of the first two innings, raising his ERA back over 6.00. Most were hard hit balls as Travis Snider, Andrew McCutchen and Michael McKendry had the runs batted in. The Cubs got on the board in the fourth inning when an Anthony Rizzo ground out drove in David DeJesus. Then the downpour came causing a one hour, 47 minute delay and knocking both starters out of the contest. After play resumed the Cubs got one run closer in the seventh when pinch-hitter Ryan Sweeney drove in Welington Castillo. But that's as close as the Cubs got.

What it means: The Cubs got swept out of Pittsburgh, scoring just six runs in the three-game series. Games 2 and 3 were defined by getting down early and not getting timely hitting late while Game 1 fell apart due to another bullpen meltdown after a great season debut by Matt Garza. As usual, the Cubs played just well enough to be in the games but not well enough to win any of them. It's the Cubs' 40th game out of 46 decided by four runs or less and 28th decided by two runs or less. They dropped to 10 games below .500 at 18-28.

Jackson regresses: Getting hit like he did in the first two innings didn't give his team a good chance to win the game, and that's always a desire of any starting pitcher. He remains the biggest disappointment of any offseason acquisition.

What's next: The Cubs' road trip continues on Friday in Cincinnati when Scott Feldman tries to end a four-game losing streak. He opposes Bronson Arroyo at 6:10 p.m. CT.