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Taillon takes control as Pirates shut out Cards

Right-hander allows 3 hits in 8 strong innings, earns 1st win since April 8
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- After a shaky May, Jameson Taillon opened June with one of his best performances of the season in the Pirates' 4-0 shutout of the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday night. Taillon didn't allow a hit through four innings and ended with eight scoreless innings, and got plenty of offensive backing.

"I felt good. Everything went off the fastball today," Taillon said. "In my last start, I used the slider/cutter pitch as kind of a crutch, then today I felt like the fastball was the main piece of the puzzle. Everything else was just complementary."

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ST. LOUIS -- After a shaky May, Jameson Taillon opened June with one of his best performances of the season in the Pirates' 4-0 shutout of the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday night. Taillon didn't allow a hit through four innings and ended with eight scoreless innings, and got plenty of offensive backing.

"I felt good. Everything went off the fastball today," Taillon said. "In my last start, I used the slider/cutter pitch as kind of a crutch, then today I felt like the fastball was the main piece of the puzzle. Everything else was just complementary."

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Taillon dominated the Cards, allowing just three hits and a walk and fanning six. Taillon's strong performance allowed the Pirates' bullpen, which was roughed up in recent games, to get some rest. Prior to Friday, Taillon's last win was on April 8 against the Reds; he'd lost four straight decisions.

"Any time a pitcher can get into the seventh and finish the eighth, it helps everybody out, because we have pitched a bit more out of the bullpen than we wanted to in the past week," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Taillon's biggest test came in the fifth, when Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna reached on singles with nobody out. After striking out Yairo Munoz in the next at-bat, Taillon slowed things down.

"I took a step off, got some rosin and wiped the sweat off and kind of tried to just slow it down and realize that I'm a pitcher two away from getting out of this," Taillon said. "I don't know if [Francisco Cervelli] did it on purpose, but I feel like he kind of slowed me down a little to focus on that next pitch. Let's one by one execute our way out of this."

Taillon struck out Kolten Wong swinging, then induced a Francisco Pena groundout to get out of the inning.

The Pirates scored single runs in the third and fifth and added two runs in the eighth. Adam Frazier scored two runs on two hits, including a sequence of consecutive triples with Cervelli in the fifth.

Video: PIT@STL: Frazier hits Mikolas with grounder, doubles

"Adam has continued to work this year. It hasn't been the start that he's wanted, but he hasn't backed off his work. He's still giving us some good at-bats, and I think they've been trending up," Hurdle said. "Today it was a really good game for him on both sides of the ball."

Pittsburgh got its biggest cushion in the eighth when Corey Dickerson doubled, scoring Josh Bell. Dickerson advanced to third on the throw home, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Colin Moran.

Video: PIT@STL: Dickerson doubles to plate Bell in the 8th

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas pitched a strong six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. St. Louis struggled to get on base after scoring 10 runs on Thursday in a walk-off win.

Edgar Santana pitched a scoreless ninth as the Pirates recorded their first shutout since May 6 in Milwaukee. The Pirates now have a league-leading eight shutouts.

SOUND SMART
Frazier and Cervelli hit consecutive triples in the fifth, the second time in a week the Pirates have done that -- they did it May 25, also vs. the Cardinals -- after going more than a year without doing so. Before last week, the last time they'd hit consecutive triples was April 28, 2017, vs. the Marlins.

Video: PIT@STL: Cervelli plates Frazier with an RBI triple

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Gregory Polanco now has a league-leading three 5-star catches after he traveled 46 feet in 3.2 seconds to make a shoestring grab of Wong's liner to right in the eighth. The play had an 18 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™.

Video: PIT@STL: Polanco makes a shoestring catch in right

HE SAID IT
"He was a Pirate for a month. Unfortunately, we never got the ball to him or got him on the mound. I did make two phone calls to him, though. I welcomed him to the club and then wished him well going away with a guy I never even met." -- Clint Hurdle, on Mikolas

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
On a potential double-play ball in the first inning, Harrison Bader slid past second, altering Frazier's throw to first, where Jose Martinez was safe. After a review, the ruling was that there was a violation on Bader's slide, and Martinez was ruled out at first.

Video: PIT@STL: Pirates get double play as call overturned

UP NEXT
Right-hander Chad Kuhl (4-3, 3.94) faces righty Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.63) on Saturday when the Pirates take on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in a 2:15 p.m. ET matinee. The Bucs have won four of the last five games Kuhl has started, but he took a loss in his last start, allowing four runs in six innings against the Cubs.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jameson Taillon