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Rapid Reaction: Cubs 3, Brewers 0

5/18/2014

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a quick look at the game:

How it happened: The Cubs jumped on Matt Garza, who has had issues this season at the start of games, in the first inning. A bunt hit by Emilio Bonifacio started a three-run rally as two-out base-knocks by Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo drove home the runs. Garza settled down, not giving up another hit until the sixth inning. But Cubs starter Edwin Jackson was even better. He had a season-high 11 strikeouts while giving up just four singles and walking one. The Brewers were off balance all day long. Neil Ramirez threw a perfect eighth inning and Hector Rondon closed it for his fourth save.

What it means: Jackson is starting to pitch to his salary, as his ERA fell to under 4.00 (3.98) for seemingly the first time as a Cub. His pitches were simply working and he didn’t nibble. He also avoided the “one-inning syndrome” that usually costs him several runs. It was arguably his best performance since arriving in Chicago with a $52 million deal.

Ramirez and Rondon have emerged as the unlikely late inning go-to guys with a lead. Ramirez struck out two more batters as his fastball, slider and curveball have complemented one another since he was called up from the minors.

Injury updates: Ryan Sweeney “took a step back” as he rehabs a hamstring injury, according to manager Rick Renteria. But Justin Ruggiano's hamstring issue is getting better as he closes in on a rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa.

What’s next: The rubber game of the series takes place Sunday afternoon when Travis Wood (3-4, 4.91) faces Marco Estrada (3-1, 3.28).