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STL@CHC: Jackson holds Cards scoreless over seven

Giants starter Matt Cain is looking to take the momentum from his last start and build on it. Edwin Jackson, the right-hander for the Cubs, is looking for some better luck.

Chicago will visit San Francisco in the opener of a three-game weekend set in AT&T Park on Friday night, and the two righties will make up an intriguing matchup on the mound.

Jackson last pitched Sunday against Colorado and was efficient and solid while also a victim of some misfortune.

In the sixth inning of the game, rookie outfielder Junior Lake's throwing error was a costly one, and Jackson's seven innings of five-hit, three-earned-run ball went for naught. Jackson struck out five and walked two and took a tough loss to put his 2013 record at 6-11.

"We outhit them, we just didn't outscore them," Jackson said. "So it was just one of those days where they have the timely hits and we didn't. But nevertheless we still fought hard, and we don't really have much to hold our heads down about."

Meanwhile, Cain might have found something in his last start that should get his head back up.

The three-time All-Star, who was so good a year ago, had been searching for similar effectiveness all season until he hit some major struggles earlier in the month, dropping two consecutive decisions in which he did not make it out of the third inning, including the first time he failed to finish the first inning in his career.

But last Saturday he picked up his first win since June 13, and he did a lot of it in style. He gave up only one hit through the first four innings against Arizona and lasted five in all, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking four.

It wasn't a perfect game like the one he threw last year, but it was an improvement, and for San Francisco, it was a welcome sight.

"When you can't make it through the inning, that's never very fun," Cain said. "But you kind of have to put it past you. ... You have to turn the page and let things go. You can't dwell on it; it's already been done."

Cubs: Soriano close to heading to NY
• Alfonso Soriano was in the Cubs' starting lineup on Thursday for the series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, called manager Dale Sveum and asked him to pull the 37-year-old outfielder, saying a deal to the Yankees was "99 percent" completed.

Major League Baseball has to review the financial terms of the deal, and an official announcement is not expected to come until Friday.

"He's going to a place that is obviously one of the better stadiums, and he's been there before and has performed in that atmosphere before," Sveum said. "Obviously, they've had a lot of injuries, and he's the guy who can fill that void as [designated hitter] and in left field."

Soriano has hit 10 home runs in his last 21 games and batting .286 in that stretch with six doubles, 21 RBIs and a 1.044 OPS.

Giants: Bullpen shouldering the load
• San Francisco's relief corps ranks fourth in the NL with a 3.21 ERA (116 earned runs in 325 2/3 innings) behind Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Giants relievers worked 21 1/3 of the 36 innings in the just-completed series against Cincinnati, allowing seven runs.

• First baseman Brandon Belt is hitting .316 (12-for-38) in his last 12 games. His 10 home runs this season are a career high (he had nine in 2011).

• The Giants are hitting .201 (47-for-234) with runners in scoring position in their last 30 games. More recently, they are hitting .200 (13-for-65) with RISP in their past eight games.

Worth noting
• Jackson is 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against the Giants.

• Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti underwent minor surgery on his left elbow Wednesday, but he is expected to be back Friday. Mark Gardner was the pitching coach during Righetti's absence, and Shawon Dunston (normally an instructor with the club) sat on the bench.

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