The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

June 20, 2013

Molina, Westbrook lead Cardinals over Cubs, 4-1

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Edwin Jackson believes he knows what ailed him at the start of his tenure with the Chicago Cubs.

"Earlier, I felt like I was kind of mechanical, kind of too much in a bubble," he said. "You have to go back to having fun."

The Cardinals kept Jackson from having much fun in his bid for a third straight victory. Yadier Molina hit his fifth home run and Jake Westbrook (2-3) pitched seven innings of two-hit ball in the St. Louis Cardinals' 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

Jackson signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason and promptly dropped his first five decisions and started 1-8 overall as his ERA ballooned to 6.29. In his past three starts, however, both he and manager Dale Sveum have seen a major difference in his approach.

"He's pitching with more conviction," Sveum said. "(Wednesday's) velocity wasn't like it was, but everything is going a heck of a lot better than the first half of his starts."

Jackson (3-9) was pulled after he hit Jon Jay following Molina's blast to left field. He pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits. He struck out one and walked two. His ERA is down to 5.49

He was going for his third consecutive victory and said he was pleased with his performance. He wasn't even unhappy with the ball that Molina homered on.

"I thought it was a pretty good pitch, but either he was looking for it or he guessed right or it was right in his zone," Jackson said. "Either way, he hit it for a home run. But I threw my pitch with conviction and it was the pitch I wanted to throw. Sometimes it happens in a game."

Molina admitted to being surprised by his blast.

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