PITTSBURGH -- Jameson Taillon gave the Pirates the start they needed on Saturday, but he didn't get the finish he wanted.
After six straight games in which Pittsburgh's starting pitcher didn't complete five innings, Taillon began the night brilliantly by hurling six scoreless frames. The right-hander was charged with three two-out runs in the seventh inning, however, and the Pirates extended their losing streaking to five games with a 3-2 loss to the Phillies at PNC Park.
"I was really excited and looking forward to being the guy to put an end to our tough streak here," Taillon said. "I had my good stuff. I was being aggressive. Put us in a good spot there going into the seventh, and we came out with the loss. This one hurts."
Taillon cruised through six innings on just 65 pitches, giving up a pair of singles and striking out six without issuing a walk. But after inducing a Rhys Hoskins flyout on his third pitch of the seventh frame, he took notice of right-hander Edgar Santana warming up in the bullpen behind him.
"That's the human element of it, pitching, looking over your shoulder -- at 68 pitches without a guy touching second base, and someone's warming up -- that's tough," Taillon said.
Odubel Herrera collected the Phillies' third hit of the day with a single but was thrown out at second on a Carlos Santana fielder's choice. With two outs recorded, Nick Williams tripled deep to the right-field corner, plating Santana. Scott Kingery drove a slider that was low and away to center field to score Williams and tie the game at 2.
Santana subsequently took over on the mound, ending Taillon's day after 77 pitches -- the fourth fewest pitches he's thrown this season. Taillon said he understands that manager Clint Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage had the team's best interest in mind when removing him, and that he would "get the reasoning, shower it off and move on."
"At that point in time, I gave [Taillon] a chance to face the last guy and keep him off the plate," Hurdle said. "Felt good about it the way he had commanded the ball [and] executed the ball. Ball-to-strike ratio. All the numbers across the board. And once the tying run was in, I felt that was enough."
Santana's first pitch was a four-seam fastball that Jorge Alfaro connected on for a double to center field to drive in Kingery and put the Phillies in front, 3-2.
Taillon received run support early on as Starling Marte ripped a single to right field in the first inning and later scored on Colin Moran's two-out single. In the third, Marte made Jacob Arrieta pay for hanging an 81.2 mph curveball over the middle of the plate, launching a 392-foot homer to right field to double Pittsburgh's advantage.
"You see nothing but good signs," Hurdle said of Marte, who has gone 7-for-12 over the past three games after getting a few days off during a slump. "The last game in L.A., the two games here, the work off the breaking ball machine -- I think he's worked himself to a much more convicted spot in the batter's box."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Keeping hope alive: The Phillies looked as though they might break the game open in the ninth inning when left-hander Felipe Vazquez started the frame by walking Santana and giving up a double to pinch-hitter Aaron Altherr. After back-to-back outs, the Pirates intentionally walked Maikel Franco before Vazquez struck out Andrew Knapp on three pitches to keep Pittsburgh in the game.
"Lately this guy's been pitching really well, and he showed what he can do," Hurdle said. "He got painted into a corner -- second and third, no outs -- and he was able to go ahead and take care of it."
HE SAID IT
"It happens quick at the big league level. It can change the shape of a game really fast. We weren't too far off from getting Arrieta removed early in the game. His pitch count was high. He stuck with it, got quick outs, went deep. They put a couple hits together and ended up winning. That's all it took." --- Taillon, on how quickly a game can change
Right-hander Nick Kingham will be on the mound to close out the three-game series with the Phillies at PNC Park on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Kingham struggled last time out, allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits over three innings against the Dodgers. Since winning his first two starts, Kingham has gone 0-4 in his past five. The Phillies will call up prospect Drew Anderson to oppose.