Taillon throws 6 solid innings, but Bucs fall to Brewers 5-3

Athletic trainers Ben Potenziano, (L), and Todd Tomczyk, (R), help Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) to sit up in the second inning of a in a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Taillon was hit by a ball off the bat of Herman Perez, but stayed in the game.  (AP)Athletic trainers Ben Potenziano, (L), and Todd Tomczyk, (R), help Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) to sit up in the second inning of a in a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Taillon was hit by a ball off the bat of Herman Perez, but stayed in the game. (AP)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had a lot to like about Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon.

Taillon allowed two runs on six hits over six innings with no walks and six strikeouts, but Hernan Perez drove in three runs, lifting the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pirates 5-3 on Saturday night after Pittsburgh dealt closer Mark Melancon to Washington.

Shifted to third in the batting order because Ryan Braun was sidelined by with right-side tightness, Perez hit a two-run homer in the first off rookie Taillon (2-2).

“I liked the way he handled himself on the mound, again,” Hurdle said. “I liked the way he pitched. He got pushed in the first inning, a 30-pitch first inning, a couple of runs. He maintained focus. He maintained aggressiveness off the mound.”

Jung Ho Kang’s RBI single in the fourth cut the gap, but Milwaukee opened a 4-1 lead against reliever Jonathan Niese with two outs in the seventh when Scooter Gennett had a run-scoring bloop single and Perez’s third hit of the game drove in another run.

Gregory Polanco hit his 14th homer, an eighth-inning drive off Will Smith. Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered against Neftali Feliz in the bottom half.

Nieuwenhuis saved a run in the fourth with a long throw from right that catcher Martin Maldonado caught on the fly. Kang missed the plate with his slide and Maldonado missed his first tag attempt, then got a lunging Maldonado for the inning-ending out.

Moved up in the order on Thursday because of Braun’s injury, Perez hit a two-run homer off Arizona’s Robbie Ray. Perez has seven home runs this season — he had one in 156 games before this year.

“I feel good right now at the plate,” Perez said. “I am taking good pitches to swing. Put a good swing on the ball and good things happen.”

Perez is batting .360 with nine runs, three doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs since the All-Star break.

Chase Anderson (6-10) gave up an unearned run and four hits in five innings, striking out a season-high seven. Jeremy Jeffress pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 27 chances, allowing Jordy Mercer’s RBI single.

Milwaukee has won eight straight home games against the Pirates and kept two-time All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy on the bench as the Brewers considered trade possibilities.

FREESE OUT

David Freese was ejected by plate umpire Marty Foster for arguing balls and strikes before the Brewers came to bat in the fifth. Freese had just struck out swinging. John Jaso replaced Freese at first base.

TAILLON DENIED

Nieuwenhuis charged Taillon’s one-hop line drive in the fifth and fired a strike to first baseman Chris Carter to just get Taillon. That would have been the rookie’s first hit in 12 at-bats.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: Melancon was traded for reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn. “I get the business side of it,” Melancon said. “It is what it is. I am just happy I was part of this organization.” … C Francisco Cervelli was back in the starting lineup after being helped off the field in the eighth inning of Friday night’s game. Gennett was hit by a pitch, and the ball ended up catching Cervelli on his inside right foot. “I feel better,” Cervelli said. “I did a lot of treatment last night. In the moment, I thought it was broke. It was hard. It was the same spot I got hit in Miami.”

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (6-10) makes his second start this season against the Brewers. He struck out 13 over 6 2/3 innings and won 5-3 on July 21. He struck out 13 over 6 2/3 innings and won 5-3 on July 21. He needs two strikeouts for 1500 in his career. He has lost four of his last five road decisions.

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (1-4, 5.74) makes his ninth start of the season and second against the Pirates since being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on June 14 with a right lat strain. He allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings in the 5-3 loss to Liriano and the Pirates.