Chicago Cubs (29-40) at St. Louis Cardinals (45-26), 8:15 p.m. (ET)
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs target another win over their longtime NL Central-rival St. Louis Cardinals when the two ballclubs resume a four-game series Wednesday from Busch Stadium.
The Cubs dropped Monday's opener of the set, 5-2, then responded with a 4-2 triumph the next night. Ryan Sweeney hit a two-run homer and Cody Ransom added a solo shot during a four-run first inning. The blasts came off Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who was aiming for win No. 11 and allowed four runs and seven hits in seven hits.
Jeff Samardzija aided the Cubs in this rivalry by holding the Cardinals to a pair of runs in 8 1/3 innings, while giving up seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
"It's a rivalry game, and with that aside, you have a respect for (the Cardinals) and how they play the game and how they set their lineup up, one through nine," Samardzija said.
"You know you've got to come at it," he said. "I'm watching film five days before, and trying to find some weaknesses, and you can look as hard as you want and you're not going to find it. You just know your margin of error against this team is real small and you've just got to deal with it."
Chicago, which stopped a five-game slide in the Gateway City, has won four of the past six games and is 3-2 on a seven-game road trip.
The Cubs have won each of Edwin Jackson's last two starts and will turn to the right-hander again Wednesday. Jackson, who started the season 1-8, has ripped off back-to-back wins against Pittsburgh and the New York Mets.
Jackson tamed the Mets at Citi Field last Friday and held the hosts to a run on five hits and three walks over six innings with seven strikeouts. He has 15 K's in the past two outings and is 3-8 with a 5.40 ERA in 13 starts this season. Jackson had lost three straight starts until his modest resurgence.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers draft pick is only 1-3 with a 4.58 ERA in seven career games (6 starts) against St. Louis and played with the Cardinals back 2011, going 5-2 in 13 games, 12 of which were starts.
St. Louis has alternated wins and losses over the past eight games and still have the majors' best record at 45-26.
Carlos Beltran homered and Yadier Molina ended with three hits in defeat. The Cardinals were hoping Wainwright could grab a major league-leading 11th win of the season, but a rough first inning did him in.
"After that (first inning), he was the Adam that we've seen all year long," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He did a great job really sticking through there and picking up our bullpen. More importantly, he kept us in there. We had a chance."
The Cardinals lead the NL Central by 2 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati and are 1-1 on a seven-game homestand.
Jake Westbrook will make his second start since coming off the disabled list for the Cardinals Wednesday. Westbrook returned to action in last Friday's 5-4 loss at Miami and was reached for five runs, three of which were earned, in five innings.
Westbrook has allowed six runs in his past two starts and owns a 2-2 mark in seven starts with a 2.05 ERA. The right-hander faced the Cubs on May 8 in a 5-4 win and did not record a decision, as he permitted four runs (3 earned) and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. Westbrook is 5-2 with a 4.24 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs.
The Cubs and Cardinals split a two-game series at Wrigley Field last month.