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Bullpen falters as Bucs drop series to Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jameson Taillon had a strong showing while utilizing his slider well. Bucs backed him up with four runs but the collapse of Pittsburgh’s bullpen ultimately paved way for the series loss to the Cardinals.

Santana was unable to prevent any of the inherited base runners from scoring in the 7th inning. Feliz loaded the bases in the 8th on a single and two walks before finally recording an out. Vazquez came in to stop the bleeding but also was only able to record one out while issuing a single and two walks.

Here’s how the scoring went:

Cardinals wasted no time offensively when Carpenter led the game off with a double off the right field wall. Taillon was able to get two quick outs but Marcell Ozuna eventually knocked him in with a single.

Bucs answered in the 4th inning with the Austin Meadows show. Meadows singled, executed a delayed steal of second base, reached third on Bell’s sac fly, and finally scored on Moran’s single to right center.

The Pirates continued the scoring in the bottom of the 5th on a Diaz walk, Mercer single, and a huge two run triple by Frazier. Meadows delivered a sac fly to left, scoring Frazier, thus concluding the Bucs’ offensive production for the day.

Cardinals threatened again in the top of the 6th after a walk was issued to Carpenter and Pham reached on an error by Moran, leaving runners at the corners with one out. Taillon was able to induce an inning ending double play to escape the jam.

In the top of the 7th inning, after striking out Tyler O’Neill, Taillon gave up back to back singles to Wong and Munoz which effectively ended his day. Edgar Santana came on in relief and promptly recorded the second out of the inning on a fly out to center. However, the Cardinals were able to push two runs across when Jedd Gyorko singled to left with runners on second and third.

Cardinals struck again in the 8th inning at the hands of Feliz and Vazquez. Feliz came on in relief to begin the 8th inning and set the table for the Cardinals’ continued scoring. Martinez singled to center, and Pham and Ozuna followed up with walks, which loaded the bases. Feliz finally recorded an out thanks to Tyler O’Neill’s presence in the lineup. Vazquez replaced Feliz on the mound with one out and the bases loaded and promptly yielded an RBI single to Bader, tying the game at four. The scoring continued when Vazquez issued a bases loaded walk to Munoz on four pitches. Cardinals concluded their scoring when Kelly knocked in Ozuna with an RBI ground out.

Bucs’ bullpen needs to reduce the amount of free base runners given to the opposition. There is no defense against walks and Feliz and Vazquez teamed up to issue four of them to Cardinals hitters in the 8th inning. This cannot continue to happen from 8th and 9th inning guys in save situations if the Pirates want to win ballgames.

Bucs will try again tomorrow while kicking off a series against the Chicago Cubs.