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Taillon stays sharp as Pirates drop Cubs, 5-1

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Jameson Taillon extended his string of starts with three or fewer earned runs to 21 as the Pirates fasciited the Cubs, 5-1.

The good guys got on the board quickly against Cole Hamels, who dominated them in two August starts. With Josh Bell on with a two-out single, Francisco Cervelli launched a bomb deep to left and barely fair. The home run was his 12th, five more than his previous career high.

Hamels settled in after that, although some bad umpiring cost the Pirates a chance in the fourth. A one-out double by Jose Osuna put runners on second and third, but Jordan Luplow was called out on strikes, with both the first and third strikes being called on pitches well outside. Kevin Newman flied out to end the threat. The Pirates did reach Hamels for one more, though, on a double by Osuna in the sixth, driving in Cervelli.

Jameson Taillon meanwhile got through four quick innings, with the only hit being a home run by Hamels, who had only one previously in his career. The fifth and sixth innings were tougher. In the fifth, Taillon allowed three singles, but he ultimately got Ben Zobrist to bounce to first and leave the bases loaded. In the sixth, the first two batters reached, but Taillon got some help from Adam Frazier, who turned Kyle Schwarber’s slow bouncer into a studly 4-3 double play. After a walk, Taillon closed out the inning by catching Jason Heyward looking. Taillon had a quick seventh and departed, having thrown an economical 96 pitches. His final tally was one run, five hits, three walks and five Ks.

Hamels meanwhile was gone after six and the Pirates added more insurance against the Cubs’ bullpen in the seventh. Newman walked to lead off, moved up on a Taillon bunt, and scored on a single by Pablo Reyes.

Clint Hurdle went with Richard Rodriguez for the eighth. He did the job, fanning two in the process. Then in the ninth, Joe Maddon, who’d been frantically changing pitchers nearly every hitter, forgot to put in a righty to face Reyes, who belted his second career home run to make it 5-1. Despite a leadoff single, Felipe Vazquez got through the ninth on ten pitches. Vazquez got no save, but Taillon ran his record to 14-9, maintaining a tie for the staff’s best record with Trevor Williams.