Nats escape big jam in 5th, still trail 4-0

Oh. So it turns out that Edwin Jackson is a pretty good pitcher after all.

It didn't seem like it in the top of the second inning, when he was throwing Batting Practice fastballs to the St. Louis Cardinals, who (as it turns out) are really good in Batting Practice. Jackson just kept sending fastballs through the strike zone, and the Cardinals just kept hitting them.

But while Jackson is hardly a superstar, he's a perfectly competent major leaguer ... when he's mixing his pitches. Which he started doing shortly after Pete Kozma hit a three-run homer in the second. Once Jackson started throwing his slider, he started recording outs; he faced three batters in the third, and three batters in the fourth. And in the fifth, despite giving up a double to Chris Carpenter -- his opposite number's second hit in the game -- and a walk to Carlos Beltran, Jackson wriggled out of a big jam by striking out Matt Carpenter to end the inning.

Jackson's finally out of the game, bumped for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth. And one can argue that he pitched well. But he pitched decently aside from that one horrible inning, which should give the Nationals at least some hope that Jackson can give them some good innings in the Championship Series.

If they get there.

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