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Jackson loses 18th, Cardinals beat Cubs 6-2

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

Edwin Jackson would like to throw 2013 out, please, and prove he's worth it to the Chicago Cubs for the next three years.

Jackson leads the majors with 18 losses after making an early exit due to mild side discomfort in a 6-2 setback to the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

''It's just a crazy year, man,'' Jackson said. ''If I had the answer I would have changed it a long time ago.

''It's just one of those years, you just forget it, but you still learn from it.''

Jackson (8-18) was tagged for six runs on eight hits in 2 2-3 innings and finished with a 4.98 ERA. He said tightness kept him from full extension on his pitches.

The Cubs signed Jackson, who has a career record of 78-89, to a four-year, $52 million free agent deal last winter. This season ended a run of five consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.

''A lot of people want to throw one season away in their career,'' manage Dale Sveum said. ''It's over and it's just time to start from scratch in spring training.''

Adam Wainwright earned his 19th victory in a tuneup for the NL division series opener and the Cardinals showed no letup a day after clinching the division with their fifth straight win.

Matt Holliday homered for the second day in a row and Yadier Molina drove in two runs for St. Louis (96-65), which entered the day tied with Atlanta for the NL lead in wins.

The start time was moved up three hours to avoid a forecast of later storms. The Cardinals mailed vouchers to all ticket holders, whether they attended or not, for a game in 2014. The crowd of 42,520 was a few thousand shy of a sellout.

Wainwright (19-9) allowed two hits in shutout 5 1-3 innings and tied for the league lead in victories with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who lost his last scheduled start Wednesday in St. Louis.

According to STATS, Wainwright is the third Cardinals pitcher to lead the league in victories twice, also doing it with 19 wins in 2009.

Dizzy Dean (1934-35) and Mort Cooper (1942-43) are the other Cardinals pitchers to twice lead the league in wins. Bob Gibson did it once.

The Cubs averted a second straight shutout loss by scoring twice in the ninth against former St. Louis closer Edward Mujica.

Anthony Rizzo led off with a homer and Donnie Murphy had an RBI double against Mujica, who has allowed 18 hits in 7 1-3 innings with two blown saves this month and lost his job to rookie Trevor Rosenthal.

Seth Maness earned his first career save by getting Darwin Barney on a double-play ball.

The Cubs have lost 11 of 14, scoring two or fewer runs nine times in that stretch.

Wainwright got his sixth RBI of the season with a single off third baseman Donnie Murphy's glove in a four-run third.

Wainwright entered 1-6 with a 5.16 ERA at home against the Cubs. He's 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA at Wrigley Field.

Holliday hit his 22nd homer, a two-run drive in the first. The Cardinals broke away in the third when Holliday and Matt Adams drew one-out walks ahead of Molina's two-run double, and Pete Kozma had an RBI single.

NOTES: The Cardinals are giving Jake Westbrook (7-8, 4.67) a spot start in the finale and Joe Kelly will follow in relief in a postseason tuneup. The Cubs' Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33) is 0-1 in his last five starts but has had strong performances with no decision his last two times out. ... According to STATS, Jackson is among four pitchers since 2000 to throw a no-hitter and later lose 17 or more games. Also on the list are Ubaldo Jimenez last year, Derek Lowe in 2011 and Justin Verlander in 2008, all with 17 losses.

Tagged: Rangers, Cubs, Cardinals, Derek Lowe, Edwin Jackson, Matt Holliday, Donnie Murphy, Adam Wainwright

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