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Cubs turn to Jackson, seek to snap skid in Atlanta

(SportsNetwork.com) - Edwin Jackson takes aim at his first career victory over Atlanta on Sunday afternoon when the Chicago Cubs try to snap a lengthy skid at Turner Field in the finale of a three-game set with the Braves.

Jackson is 0-2 in his career against the Braves, posting a 3.78 earned run average over seven outings, including five starts.

The right-hander is coming off a solid outing versus the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, giving up a run on six hits over seven frames while striking out a season-high nine batters. Jackson left with the game tied, but the Cubs went on to lose 5-1 to leave the hurler without a decision.

"I was able to come out today and make pitches when I needed to, especially with men on base," Jackson said. "Making pitches with men in scoring position is the difference between giving up runs and not giving up runs."

Jackson, 30, is 2-2 with a 4.57 ERA on the season and will be countered by Atlanta's Aaron Harang, who bounced back last time out following his first rough outing of the campaign.

Harang began the year 3-1 with a 0.85 ERA over his first five starts before getting hit hard at Miami in a loss on April 30. The righty yielded nine runs on 10 hits over just 4 2/3 innings.

Harang, who turned 36 on Friday, followed up with six innings of work on Monday in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, charged with four runs -- two earned -- on nine hits and a walk.

The veteran has faced the Cubs 27 times in his career going 11-8 with a 4.35 ERA.

The Braves have won the first two games of this set to push the Cubs' road losing streak in this series to six in a row. Chicago has not won in Atlanta since July 4, 2012.

Saturday's game was scoreless until the Braves plated a pair of runs in the seventh inning and that was enough to pick up a 2-0 victory and win for the third time in four games on the heels of a seven-game skid.

After Cubs hurler Jeff Samardzija logged six scoreless frames, reliever Brian Schlitter gave up a single to Chris Johnson to begin the seventh and B.J. Upton followed with a sacrifice bunt.

A single by Andrelton Simmons put runners on the corners and Ryan Doumit came through with a pinch-hit double to left that scored Johnson. Tyler Pastornicky added an insurance run with a suicide squeeze that scored Simmons.

Ervin Santana fanned seven and surrendered five hits and a walk over the first seven frames for Atlanta, David Carpenter struck out the side in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel fired a scoreless ninth for his 10th save of the season.

"Our pitching has been unbelievable all year, keeping us in ball games," Pastornicky said.

Samardzija, meanwhile, struck out seven and allowed just two hits to lower his ERA to 1.45, but remained winless on the season.

"It all evens out. Just keep pitching, just keep doing your work," Samardzija said.

The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven games overall.

The Braves are likely to rest outfielder Justin Upton today due to a back issue. He was first shaken up following a collision during a rundown in the fourth inning as he tagged Anthony Rizzo, then came out of the game in the sixth after getting hit by a pitch in the back.

National News

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