Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taillon's Debut Ok, but Not Bullpen Right-Hander Goes 6 Innings in Debut Mets 6, Pirates 5

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taillon's Debut Ok, but Not Bullpen Right-Hander Goes 6 Innings in Debut Mets 6, Pirates 5

Article excerpt

Six years and a day after the Pirates drafted Jameson Taillon second overall, between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the right-hander stood in the home clubhouse at PNC Park after tossing a quality start in his debut and, with a smile on his face, declared it was worth the wait.

"I've been on some big stages," he said. "None that mattered quite as much as this."

By the time the New York Mets rallied in the 10th for a 6-5 win, salvaging the series finale and ending a nine-game losing streak against the Pirates, Taillon was long gone and content to begin his career with a no-decision.

Before the game, Taillon tucked the red spikes from his Class AAA Indianapolis days in the back corner of his locker, which is situated between Ryan Vogelsong and Gerrit Cole. He was nervous, sure, but no more than he had been the previous day when he arrived in town.

There were two pieces of advice in particular that stuck. First was from catcher Francisco Cervelli, who said: "Have fun. If you don't feel anything in your stomach, you're not from this planet." And then manager Clint Hurdle told the kid, "Respect everything, and fear nothing."

The words were not hollow. After all, on this night Taillon was to match wits and whiffs with Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard, which meant waging war against a man built like a Norseman and nicknamed "Thor." Syndergaard throws 98 mph. Taillon hadn't hit against anything over 92.

The starting pitchers went six innings apiece. Taillon allowed six hits and three runs, walking two and striking out three. Syndergaard scattered seven hits and three runs, two earned, and saw his ERA rise from 1.91 to 2.00. He gave up five extra-base hits for the first time in his career.

"Noah's not a guy you're going to beat out of the ballpark by swinging the bat," Hurdle said.

Much of the game was a battle of bats between Gregory Polanco and Michael Conforto. Polanco banged three doubles off the Clemente Wall, and Conforto drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and a tying, eighth-inning home run off reliever Jared Hughes.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out against left-hander Cory Luebke in the 10th and pulled ahead when pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores blooped a go-ahead, RBI single to center. …

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