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Bucs come out swinging to back Taillon's gem

Marte, Mercer, Harrison homer as right-hander tosses complete game
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- The Pirates sailed to victory Tuesday on the winds of a dramatic reversal of fortune, pairing a second straight sterling starting pitching performance with an offensive eruption to earn a 10-2 victory over the Rockies and even the series a day after being shut out at Coors Field.

Jameson Taillon echoed Joe Musgrove with a two-run outing. It marked the 13th consecutive start in which Taillon has allowed three or fewer runs. He allowed 10 hits and a walk and struck out three on 107 pitches, holding a powerful Rockies lineup to two runs for the second straight game.

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DENVER -- The Pirates sailed to victory Tuesday on the winds of a dramatic reversal of fortune, pairing a second straight sterling starting pitching performance with an offensive eruption to earn a 10-2 victory over the Rockies and even the series a day after being shut out at Coors Field.

Jameson Taillon echoed Joe Musgrove with a two-run outing. It marked the 13th consecutive start in which Taillon has allowed three or fewer runs. He allowed 10 hits and a walk and struck out three on 107 pitches, holding a powerful Rockies lineup to two runs for the second straight game.

View Full Game Coverage

"I had a really good two-seam, which helps," Taillon said. "I had good fastball command all night. They were being aggressive, so I knew if you throw strikes they're going to swing. I picked a good night to have good fastball command. My curveball isn't what it usually is or what I'm used to. I had that mindset even when throwing a first pitch -- they're going to be swinging."

Taillon becomes first NL pitcher to toss two complete games in 2018

The Rockies' hits were scattered enough to avoid doing much damage. Not so for the Pirates, who posted an early lead with a run in the first, then put up big crooked numbers in the fourth and fifth innings, combining for nine runs in the middle frames.

"I liked the at-bats," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We had a couple games where we had some guys that weren't getting their swings where they wanted to. They weren't squaring balls up. Everybody contributed tonight. Some guys still aren't happy. That's the fun part of watching these guys hunt in the box and take their at-bats is they can please themselves, but they're never satisfied."

Video: PIT@COL: Taillon whiffs 3 in complete-game effort

Every Pirates position player in Tuesday's lineup had at least one hit, and all but one of them scored a run as the Bucs' bats came alive. Amidst a remarkably evenly distributed offensive onslaught, Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer stood out for their multi-hit performances and for each hitting one of Pittsburgh's three homers on the night.

Marte started the scoring with a one-out solo shot in the game's first frame, and Mercer's three-run blast in the four-run fourth gave the Pirates enough breathing room to keep the Rockies in the rearview mirror for the rest of the game.

"Marte's numbers have been crazy here over the years, and last night was a little bit of an outlier," Hurdle said. "He squares the first ball up the first at-bat. Tonight was a real good team victory all over the place. We played good defense tonight, too -- the double plays, Marte in center field running balls down."

Video: PIT@COL: Hurdle talks Taillon's complete-game gem

Taillon earned his second complete game of the season, the only National League pitcher to notch a pair of complete games so far in 2018. He also went the distance in an April 8 start at home against the Reds, a one-hit shutout in which he threw a season-high 110 pitches. The last complete game at Coors Field came on Sept. 17, 2016, and was thrown by Jon Gray. Tuesday's Rockies starter, Chad Bettis, also had a complete game at Coors that month.

The last nine-inning complete game was Clayton Kershaw's July 2, 2013 gem.

"I guess I'm in good company, I didn't really know," Taillon said. "When you run back out for the ninth, it's a cool feeling. Usually that ninth inning is the backend bullpen arms' inning. You always hear closing out games is tough, weird things happen in the ninth, so I told myself, 'It's a 0-0 game, lets close out this inning.'" Bettis, making his first start since coming off the disabled list with a blister on his middle finger, struggled throughout his 4 2/3 innings on the hill, allowing nine runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. The Rockies' bullpen contained the Pirates for the final 4 1/3 innings, but the damage was already done, with all 10 runs coming in the first five innings.

Video: PIT@COL: Bettis, Taillon share survivor bond

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mercer's three-run blast in the fourth inning essentially cemented the Pirates' lead and put the game out of reach for the Rockies. It was a 2-0 game when Mercer came to the plate with two outs and two on. He drove the first pitch he saw 443 feet into center, and built momentum for a five-run fifth to follow, while giving Taillon plenty of breathing room to pitch his game.

"The offense spotted me a lead, so I was able to pitch aggressively," Taillon said.

Video: PIT@COL: Mercer belts a 3-run homer to center field

SOUND SMART
This was the ninth time this year the Pirates have scored 10 or more runs in a game, and they are 8-1 in those games. It was the ninth time the Rockies have allowed 10 or more runs at home, and the Rockies are 0-9 in those games.

Video: COL@PIT: Harrison cranks a 2-run home run to right

HE SAID IT
"A really good week can put you in a totally different position than you're in. All it takes is one good game, and maybe a game like this can start it." -- Taillon, on the Pirates snapping their three-game losing streak in the second game of a 10-game road trip against contending teams

Video: PIT@COL: Taillon, Bettis on emotional matchup

UP NEXT
Chris Archer makes his second start for the Pirates in Wednesday's 3:10 p.m. ET rubber match with the Rockies. He'll face Colorado's German Marquez in a battle of right-handers. Archer came to the Bucs in a July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with the Rays and allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks while striking out six over 4 1/3 innings in a game the Pirates went on to win, 7-6. He's made one career start in Colorado, earning an 11-3 victory, striking out 11 over six innings.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jameson Taillon