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Jackson strong in spring debut with Cubs

Villanueva, Sappelt hit solo homers to lead offensive charge vs. Rockies

MESA, Ariz. -- Dave Sappelt and Christian Villanueva each hit a solo home run to lift the Cubs to a 4-2 victory on Tuesday over the Rockies.

Edwin Jackson, making his Cubs debut, gave up a pair of two-out hits over two scoreless innings.

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"Today was pretty much evaluation, and see where I am," Jackson said. "It's all mental. You keep the ball down and you execute pitches, and everything is pretty much good. And you can have a lot of success with the ball down in the zone."

Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin faced the minimum over two innings in his first Cactus League start. Colorado's athletic trainer had to check on the right-hander after he got Alfonso Soriano to line out for the first out in the second, but Chacin stayed in the game. He's been bothered by a sore toe on his left foot, injured in pitchers' fielding practice.

"I was trying to keep my ball down," Chacin said. "Trying to locate my fastballs. That's pretty much what I was trying to do. I threw like three breaking balls. I was trying to throw my [sinker] and my fastball down, in and out. I was just trying to make them swing the bats. They did, because they saw I was throwing pitches close to the zone."

Chacin got quick outs with an efficient 18 pitches over two innings.

"That's something we're looking for," Chacin said.

Villanueva hit a solo home run with one out in the Cubs' third, but the Rockies tied the game in the fourth, as Carlos Gonzalez walked, stole second, moved up on a groundout and scored on Ben Paulsen's single.

Starlin Castro doubled to lead off the Chicago fourth and scored two batters later on Brett Jackson's sacrifice fly. Sappelt led off the sixth with his home run. DJ LeMahieu tripled to lead off the Rockies' eighth and scored on Tim Wheeler's sacrifice fly.

Matt Szczur's bases-loaded walk in the eighth scored Sappelt to make it 4-2.

Up next for the Cubs: Left-hander Brooks Raley will make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday when Chicago plays host to the Dodgers at HoHoKam Stadium at 2:05 p.m. CT. A webcast of the game is available exclusively on Raley was 1-2 with an 8.14 ERA in five starts with the Cubs last season, and 4-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Iowa.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson, Brett Jackson, Brooks Raley, Dave Sappelt, Alfonso Soriano, Christian Villanueva