Taillon dominates Mets, cruises to 1st MLB win

June 15th, 2016

NEW YORK -- The lights, the stage, the relatively late notice -- none of it seemed to matter to Jameson Taillon. The Pirates rookie and former No. 2 overall Draft pick -- selected between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in 2010 -- brushed aside everything the Mets or anyone else could chuck his way on Tuesday, firing eight shutout innings in a 4-0 win at Citi Field for his first Major League victory.

"One of the first comments he made after the game was, 'Pressure is a privilege,'" Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's well-connected."

In his second career start, and also his second meeting with the Mets in a week, Taillon -- MLB Pipeline's No. 48 prospect in baseball -- balanced out his mid-90s fastball with a curve that he dipped into the upper 70s. He did not allow a hit until Curtis Granderson trickled a ground ball to the right side of second base and through a defensive overshift to lead off the seventh, permitting his only other baserunners on a hit batter, a two-out walk and an eighth-inning single.

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"He throws a lot of strikes and he did tonight," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I thought his movement on his fastball was much better than it was the other day. I thought he threw more four-seamers than he did the other night. He got his breaking ball over for strikes. When he got ahead, he expanded the strike zone. So he pitched like a big leaguer."

Hurdle removed Taillon for a pinch-hitter after eight, with 91 pitches on his ledger.

By that time, the Pirates had the game mostly in hand. Jung Ho Kang walloped a two-run homer off Mets starter Jacob deGrom in the sixth inning, and Starling Marte doubled the margin with a two-run shot of his own off Jim Henderson in the eighth. Though deGrom struck out nine-plus batters for the third consecutive start, he lost his third consecutive decision and has not won since April. A Mets offense struggling to find its footing has scored two total runs in deGrom's last three starts.

"I try not to think about that," deGrom said. "That's what all our starters do -- just go out there and put up zeros, no matter what the score is. It's a 0-0 ballgame and a mistake like that can cost you, which it did tonight."


Taillon takes over: The right-hander made his first career start against the Mets last week, allowing three runs over six innings in a no-decision, and followed it with a gem Tuesday night after getting recalled from the Minors due to Gerrit Cole landing on the disabled list. After carrying a no-hitter into the seventh, he finished with eight innings of two-hit ball and five strikeouts.

"Coming off my injury history and stuff, I had never gone eight since the injuries," Taillon said. "I absolutely did it, and we got those animals in the bullpen closing it out." More >

Seeing-eye single: Granderson sucked some drama out of the night with a grounder to lead off the seventh inning against Taillon, guiding it past two defenders engaged in a defensive overshift. That broke up Taillon's no-hit bid, but hardly seemed to rattle the rookie; the next batter, Yoenis Cespedes, grounded into a double play.

"He did a really good job today," Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera said. "When you face guys like that, you've got to tip your hat."

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Double trouble: The Pirates got all the offense they needed on a pair of two-run homers by Kang and Marte. Pittsburgh entered the game with 57 home runs, tied for the fourth-lowest mark in the Majors.


For much of the night, Taillon was bidding to become the fourth pitcher in baseball's modern era to throw a no-hitter in his first or second Major League start. St. Louis Browns pitcher Bobo Holloman threw one in his first career start against the Philadelphia A's on May 6, 1953, though Holloman had made four prior relief appearances. Wilson Alvarez did so in his second start for the White Sox on Aug. 11, 1991, at Baltimore. And Boston's Clay Buchholz no-hit the Orioles in his second career start on Sept. 1, 2007.


Pirates: Left-hander Jeff Locke hopes to follow up Taillon's gem and rebound from an 11-run outing in his previous start when he takes the ball Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Mets. The loss, in which he also allowed 11 hits, snapped a four-game winning streak for Locke.

Mets:Noah Syndergaard will look to keep a personal four-game winning streak rolling when he starts the second game of the series at Citi Field. Syndergaard owns a 1.41 ERA over that stretch, which includes two no-decisions and one relief appearance.

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