Cubs 6, Astros 6(10)

Chicago’s Edwin Jackson got off to a slow start on Friday night
against the Houston Astros. When he settled down, he was almost
unhittable.

Jackson struck out nine as the Cubs and Astros played to a 6-6
tie in 10 innings in an exhibition game.

Jackson plunked the first batter he faced, and leadoff hitter
Jose Altuve moved up when Brett Wallace followed with a walk. Chris
Carter then hit a two-run double with one out before Jackson struck
out two straight to end the inning.

Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez hit an opposite-field, three-run homer
in the second before Jackson retired nine of the next 10 batters,
striking out seven of them. He gave up five hits and was replaced
by James Russell for the fifth inning.

His nine strikeouts were one more than he’d had in his previous
five spring starts.

”I think I just sped up my pace a little bit,” Jackson said of
the difference between the first two innings and the second two.
”Early on I felt I was a bit deliberate. After the home run, start
over and get in the groove and pick up the pace a little bit.”

Jackson signed a $52 million, four-year deal with Chicago over
the winter. He allowed just four runs in his first four starts this
spring before yielding 10 in his last two.

”Clearly you want good results, but the results are not always
there,” Jackson said. ”But you come out and you feel like you are
ready to go, and I felt I was ready to go today. As a pitcher, you
just want to stay more consistent all around.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was unhappy with the length of the
game.

”It was long. Four hours,” he said. ”Not what you really want
in a spring training game leading up to a day game.”

He also didn’t like how Jackson started the game, but was
pleased with how he recovered.

”It’s one of those things where, kind of a spring training-type
atmosphere, nobody in the stands, and all of a sudden we gave up
some runs . and then we started pitching,” he said.

Houston starter Alex White gave up three runs and three hits in
one inning. White, who will start the season in the bullpen, has
allowed 12 hits and seven runs in his last two outings.

Manager Bo Porter said the right-hander had some discomfort in
his throwing elbow and would undergo tests on Saturday.

”He was only going to throw two innings tonight anyway,”
Porter said. ”So it made more sense just to get the relievers in
the game. We had a bunch of relievers that needed to throw, so we
just went ahead and got him out of the game.”

White said the discomfort has been nagging him for a couple of
weeks.

”In the bullpen today I was a little stiff, but once I got in
the game I felt OK,” he said. ”I had a good breaking ball
tonight.”

NOTES: These teams wrap up the exhibition season on Saturday
when Chicago left-hander Travis Wood opposes Brad Peacock. …
Astros SS Carlos Correa, the top overall pick in the 2012 draft,
will start on Saturday. … Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt,
the NFL’s defensive player of the year, took batting practice
before the game. He had trouble getting going, but ended up hitting
five home runs. ”I started off super slow, but then they started
to get the pitches a little bit higher and I had a little success
at the end,” he said. ”But I’m disappointed … if we would have
kept going I would have had a few more.” Watt, who will throw out
the first pitch before the Astros’ opener on Sunday night, said he
threw a bullpen session recently to prepare for the job. ”I threw
about 45 pitches, so I will be much more ready for my first pitch
than I was for the batting practice today,” he said.