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Pirates Lose Second Straight Extra Inning Game To Cardinals

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

Jameson Taillon gave the Pirates seven strong frames, but the bullpen could not cross the finish line Wednesday, dropping a second straight extra inning game to the Cardinals in a 5-4 affair.

The Pirates took a 3-1 lead into the eighth, but the Cardinals tied the game on a two run homer by Harrison Bader before striking for two more in the 10th against Nick Burdi (0-1).

It was the latest example of shaky bullpen work in the early goings of 2019. Pirate relievers have allowed 11 runs in 14 innings so far.

“When the guys come in and get outs, it always looks good,” Clint Hurdle said. “When they don’t, it doesn’t look good.”

The bullpen’s shortcomings spoiled Taillon’s home debut. Taillon finished allowing three hits and one run in his seven innings, striking out five and not walking a batter. His one blemish was a home run by Paul DeJong to open the seventh inning.

“Eerily similar to Cincinnati,” Taillon said, referring to his last outing. “I just told myself that I’m going to put my foot down and this isn’t going to happen again.”

Taillon followed the homer with a ground out, pop out and strikeout looking to end his night.

The infield provided the offense early, with Erik Gonzalez driving in a run on a second inning triple before scoring on an Adam Frazier bloop. Jung-Ho Kang pushed the lead to three with a third inning home run.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the 10th, and while J.B. Shuck drew a one out free pass to make it a 5-4 game, Erik Gonzalez and Pablo Reyes failed to bring in the tying run.

John Gant (2-0) gets the win and Dakota Hudson the save (1) for the Cardinals.

No Nightmare

One reliever who did not get in on the action was closer Felipe Vazquez, who was only available for a save situation, according to Hurdle.

“51 pitches in two days,” Hurdle said, referring to Vazquez’s outings on Sunday and Monday. “One day off.”

On Deck

The Pirates will welcome the Reds to PNC Park for a four game set starting Thursday at 7:05 p.m.. Jordan Lyles will be activated off the 10 day injury list and make his Pirate debut against Tyler Mahle.

NUMB3RS

1. Kang’s home run had a launch angle of 40 degrees. It is the 11th home run the Pirates have hit with that high a launch in the Statcast era (2015). Kang has the most in that time with three.

2. The Pirates went 1-14 with RISP.

3. It had been 914 days since Kang’s last major league home run.