Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cubs 8, Pirates 2 a Long and Wet Empty Feeling Chicago Jumps on Taillon Early, Leaves with a Split

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cubs 8, Pirates 2 a Long and Wet Empty Feeling Chicago Jumps on Taillon Early, Leaves with a Split

Article excerpt

The Pirates outfielders got a workout Thursday night at PNC Park. They spent much of the first five innings chasing down hard-hit balls in the gap or the corner. Jameson Taillon could not keep the Chicago Cubs off barrel, off the bases or off the plate.

"They were just hitting every single mistake I made," Taillon said. "I guess, can't make mistakes."

Taillon's outing in an 8-2 loss Thursday night returned him, after a brief interlude, to the challenges of his second half, a stretch of starts full of too many runs and not enough innings. The 25-year-old right-hander is learning in his first full major league season the level to which big-league hitters adjust.

Taillon had to deal with a 52-minute rain delay when a storm drenched PNC Park minutes before first pitch.

The rain and the Pirates position in the standings made for a quiet, empty ballpark, and the teams played the ninth inning in the rain as well.

Nothing about Taillon's path to the majors has been easy. That hasn't changed since he arrived. He missed five weeks because of surgery to address testicular cancer. Then he came back and posted a 1.98 ERA in five starts, with 29 strikeouts in 27? innings, before the All-Star break.

"I felt strong, I felt great, but no one cares how you feel," Taillon said. "You've got to go out and get results and get guys out."

In 11 starts since, he has a 7.17 ERA, 76 hits allowed in 54 innings and 21 walks. He walked 17 batters in 18 starts in 2016. Six scoreless innings in his previous start against the Cincinnati Reds interrupted the downward trend, but he now has a 4.78 ERA.

"My stuff actually felt better than it did against the Reds," Taillon said. "Baseball's a weird game."

Thursday the Cubs tagged him for 11 hits, six of them doubles, and six runs in 4? innings. Four out of five leadoff batters reached base. His pitches sometimes found the corners, but too frequently they were high enough in the zone that the Cubs could handle them anyway. …

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