Tim Benz: Taillon comes through when the Pirates need him most

August 17, 2018

As we discussed yesterday, the Pirates needed the best possible start that Jameson Taillon could give.

And he delivered.

The 26-year-old right-hander twirled a gem at Coors Field, a place that is often a pitcher’s graveyard. He spun a complete-game win, as the Pirates snapped a three-game losing streak, 10-2.

“I’m lucky in that I put (batters) on the ground a lot when I’m pitching right,” Taillon told AT&T Sportsnet. “That’s kind of my game when I’m going right. You just need to stay focussed and execute the next pitch.”

Taillon got 13 ground-ball outs and three strikeouts. He also induced a pair of double plays from Chris Iannetta. That’s how he was able to dance through the raindrops of allowing 10 hits en route to a 107-pitch complete-game victory.

“You try to have ’em spread them out over the game,” Taillon continued on the network postgame show. “Throughout nine innings, you hope just one or two (hits) an inning and you pitch around it. Double-play balls. The defense played great.”

As the Pirates TV crew pointed out, 2,046 games have been played at Coors Field. Taillon was just the 52nd opposing starter to complete a game there. He is also just the fourth to do so as a Pittsburgh Pirate. Bob Walk, Chris Peters and Oliver Perez were the others.

Taillon is now 7-4 with a 2.95 ERA since June 1. This was his second complete game of the year. And he got 10 runs of support in the process after the Bucs were blanked Monday night, 2-0.

“I wish we saved a couple runs for last night,” Taillon said grudgingly. “But it’s a weird game. Such is baseball. But they put up some runs for me, and I was able to attack with my stuff.”

The Pirates have also done a nice job of saving their bullpen for the series finale this afternoon. Edgar Santana is the only non-starter to pitch so far in Denver after back-to-back strong outings from Taillon and Joe Musgrove. That could come in handy if Chris Archer’s second start as a Pirate is as bumpy as his first.

Plus, Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison both homered along the way. That occurred just a few hours after middle infielder Adeiny Hechavarria showed up in the clubhouse. He had just been acquired on Monday as “depth” for the team’s middle infield.

Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it was motivation. Regardless, the Pirates needed the positive result to avoid falling to the .500 mark for the first time since July 20.

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