ST. LOUIS (AP) — Just like his teammates, Jameson Taillon had been struggling after a strong start to the season.
The promising young Pirates right-hander put it all back together Friday night.
Taillon pitched three-hit ball over eight innings and Pittsburgh beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 on Friday night for its second win in its past seven games.
“I just kind of blacked out and executed my pitches,” Taillon said.
Pittsburgh had lost three straight to St. Louis during a 3-10 stretch, mostly against NL Central opponents.
Taillon (3-4) hadn’t won since April 8, when he one-hit the Cincinnati Reds in a 5-0 win. He was nearly as good this time against St. Louis, striking out six and walking one to slim his ERA to 3.97.
“This was a good one, man,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of good ones (in the majors). I know I have the ability of pitching deep in the games. I know I have the ability of turning the lineup over three or four times.
“Now, it’s about consistency and showing I can do it more often.”
St. Louis has dropped three of five. Miles Mikolas (6-1) gave up two runs — one earned — in six innings. He allowed six hits, struck out two and walked one. This was his first loss since returning to the U.S. following a stint in the Japanese professional league.
“We talk about giving us a chance for the offense to do something,” Cardinal manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s been really good all season, and that was one of those games you’d think that he had held them down enough for us to make something happen but their guy was really good.”
Adam Frazier, who was penciled in at second base late after Josh Harrison was scratched from the original lineup with flu-like symptoms, doubled in the third and tripled in the fifth before scoring Pittsburgh’s first two runs. His double ricocheted off Mikolas’ left foot and bounced into shallow left field. He scored on Josh Bell’s sacrifice fly.
It was more than enough for Taillon, who got 15 groundball outs.
“He was pumping the zone,” Frazier said. “Pitches were down, right on the corners. Not many misses tonight.”
Francisco Cervelli followed Frazier’s triple with his own to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Pittsburgh tacked on two more runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Corey Dickerson and a sacrifice fly from Colin Moran.
Marcell Ozuna had two of the three hits off Taillon, both infield singles. Dexter Fowler also had a single.
Pirates: IF Jung Ho Kang played his first U.S. game in more than a year with Class A Bradenton. Kang, 31, is currently on the Major League Baseball’s restricted list after missing the 2017 season following his third DUI arrest in his native South Korea in December 2016. Kang was not permitted to enter the U.S. until he was issued a work visa in late April. He went 0 for 3 with two walks and two strikeouts.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina is scheduled to make rehab starts for Double-A Springfield on Saturday and Sunday. He expects to return to the Cardinals for their Tuesday game with Milwaukee. Molina suffered a pelvic injury with a traumatic hematoma on May 5 that required emergency surgery.
Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (4-3, 3.94) will face Cardinals RHP Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.63) Saturday in the third game of a four-game set. Kuhl is looking for his first win since May 6. He lost his last outing, which followed three consecutive no decisions. Weaver has dropped three straight decisions and four of his past five.