MILWAUKEE (AP) — After his team lost a 15-inning game to the Milwaukee Brewers the previous night and used seven pitchers in the process, Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jameson Taillon was well aware he needed to provide a strong performance on the mound Saturday.
“I knew the team needed innings,” Taillon said. “I enjoy when I feel like something is really important. The team needed me and that sparks a little bit of extra energy.”
Taillon pitched six strong innings and Adam Frazier hit a three-run homer as the Pirates bounced back to beat the Brewers 9-1. The teams have split the first two games of the series, after Milwaukee took the opener in a game that lasted 5 hours, 36 minutes.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle praised Taillon’s fortitude.
“He had some misses and some counts got stretched out. He had to roll his sleeves up and work, and he did,” Hurdle said.
Taillon (10-9) gave up one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
“Jameson Taillon is a good pitcher and he pitched well tonight,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsel said.
The eighth inning-drive by Frazier, who entered the game an inning earlier when he pinch-hit for Taillon, gave the Pirates a five-run cushion after Gregory Polanco broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run single.
“Frazier comes in again and gives us a shot, like a sixth man in basketball,” Hurdle said. “Instant offense when he doesn’t start.”
The Pirates added three runs in the ninth on a wild pitch, a run-scoring single by Sean Rodriguez and Colin Moran’s RBI double. Moran had four hits in five at-bats.
Christian Yelich, who has an 11-game hitting streak, homered in the third to put the Brewers in front 1-0.
Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin (13-5), who didn’t allow a run in his previous two starts, held the Pirates scoreless until the fourth when Josh Harrison doubled to drive in Francisco Cervelli, who led off the inning with a double of his own.
Chacin permitted three runs and eight hits in six innings.
When Frazier drew a walk as a pinch-hitter leading off the seventh, Chacin was convinced he had thrown a strike and began shouting at plate umpire Sam Holbrook.
“We’re playing for a playoff (spot). I made a good pitch there to Frazier leading off the seventh,” Chacin said. “(Holbrook) missed it. He changed the game.”
Chacin then allowed a double to Starling Marte and issued an intentional walk to Josh Bell before being removed.
“Everything got out of hand. It was a good game until the seventh. Just one pitch changed the whole game,” Chacin said. “It wasn’t like, borderline. It was clearly a strike. He just didn’t call it.”
MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Taillon has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 16 consecutive starts, the best by a Pirates pitcher since Jeff Locke’s 17-game streak in 2013.
“I’m being aggressive, mixing my pitches a lot,” Taillon said. “Every time a hitter comes up I’m showing him something different. The addition of the slider helps.”
Yelich belted a homer to center field for the second consecutive game and has gone deep in three straight games for the second time in his career.
“My curveball doesn’t usually get hit like that,” Taillon said. “That just tells me he’s in a good spot. A bad pitch on me, but usually that’s a double or an out. He’s a great hitter.”
Pirates: Taillon was hit in the lower right leg by Eric Thames’ comebacker in the second. He remained in the game after being checked by a trainer. … Harrison, who has been dealing with a left hamstring issue, was lifted for a pinch-runner as a precaution in the eighth after pulling up while running the bases. … The Pirates recalled RHP Nick Kingham from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned RHP Clay Holmes to their top farm club. Holmes blew a save Friday night. … LHP Steven Brault, who matched a career high with four scoreless innings of relief Friday, was unavailable. … RHP A.J. Schugel (right shoulder discomfort) has been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and sent outright to Indianapolis.
Pirates: Chris Archer (4-6, 4.41 ERA) exited his last start Monday against Atlanta after four innings with left leg discomfort. He gave up one run over six innings in his only career start against Milwaukee last August as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Brewers: Chase Anderson (8-7, 3.92) is 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 13 career starts against the Pirates, including 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA in two outings this season.