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Trevor Williams, Jung Ho Kang lead Pirates to streak-busting win

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates ... won? ... against the Cardinals Wednesday night, 4-3.

Yes, a win, finally ending the eight-game losing streak. It didn't look like it would go that way at first, either. The Cardinals began the game with three straight singles against Jameson Taillon, the third of which was a line drive by Matt Adams that scored a run.

Taillon induced a double play to limit the damage, though, and the Pirates scored two in the bottom of the first, with Gregory Polanco and Jung Ho Kang hitting run-scoring singles.

The Cardinals quickly tied it in the second, as Randal Grichuk singled, stole second, and came home on Jhonny Peralta's double. But Taillon settled down after that, and the Pirates took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on singles by Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer and a sacrifice fly by Josh Harrison.

Recent callup Trevor Williams made his big-league debut in relief of Taillon in the sixth, and the first batter he faced, Yadier Molina, reached on an error by Adam Frazier. Molina later scored the tying run on Grichuk's single. But Williams held the Cardinals scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, and Jung Ho Kang, who hit two homers in yesterday's debacle, blasted off to center in the eighth today to put the Pirates up 4-3. Tony Watson, yesterday's goat, vindicated himself somewhat with a 1-2-3 ninth to get the save.

Taillon, despite the shaky beginning to his night, finished with five strikeouts and two earned runs over five, but it was Williams who received the win in his big-league debut. Later, he gave a game ball to his father, who was clearly overcome by emotion. Not that we needed one, but it's a reminder that winning is nice, even if the Pirates have consigned themselves to the fringes of the playoff race. Congratulations to Williams.