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Disastrous second inning dooms Taillon, Pirates

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

A second-inning error opened the floodgates and wrecked Jameson Taillon’s outing, as the Pirates lost their four-game winning streak in a 10-0 embarrassment against the Cubs.

Things seemed to be going according to plan, as Taillon finished the first, after a leadoff walk, by fanning Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez. In the second, he got two quick outs, but a throwing error by Kevin Newman put a runner on second. The Pirates chose to walk Jason Heyward to get to Jon Lester, but Lester foiled that strategy by slicing a double to left center. Three singles, a hit batsman and two more errors by Newman, on the same play, followed. That gave the Cubs six unearned runs. It also ended Taillon’s day, as he left for a pinch hitter after the inning.

Things didn’t improve from there. Steve Brault got a pinch single for Taillon, but was less successful on the mound, getting hammered for four runs over two innings. The only bright spots were Francisco Liriano and Nick Burdi. Liriano sort-of retired all seven batters he faced; one reached on Colin Moran’s third error in less than three games at third (he replaced Jung Ho Kang in the sixth). Burdi struck out the side in the eighth, including Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.

The offense was non-existent. Lester exited early, not due to anything the Pirates did but because of hamstring tightness (the Cubs evidently don’t understand Discomfort Theory). The Cubs’ bullpen came into the game with an ERA of 8.37, but they made mince meat of the Pirates’ hitters. In seven innings against Cubs’ relievers, the Pirates managed just four singles and two walks, while whiffing eight times. They had just seven singles for the game, fanned a dozen times, and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. For the season, they’re batting .171 with RISP. Melky Cabrera had two of the singles before departing.

The Pirates get a day off tomorrow before trying once again to beat somebody besides the Reds.