Tuesday night was one of the easiest victories of the season for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Tuesday night at Coors Field was the biggest feel good pitching matchup of the season in Major League Baseball. In a battle of guys who kicked testicular cancer’s ass last season, Jameson Taillon took the ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates and squared off against Chad Bettis and the Colorado Rockies.
When it came to their pitching on Tuesday night, Taillon was excellent while Bettis struggled. This resulted in the Pirates defeating the Rockies by a score of 10-0 in the second game of this series to improve to 58-56 on the season.
Entering Tuesday night’s game the Pittsburgh Pirates had not scored a run in 23 innings. This string would quickly be broken, though.
With one out in the top of the 1st inning Starling Marte launched a 453-foot blast off of Bettis. Marte’s 17th home run of the season gave the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.
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The score would remain 1-0 until the top of the 4th inning when the Bucs put up a four spot.
Gregory Polanco walked to start the inning, David Freese singled, and Francisco Cervelli drew a one-out walk. With the bases loaded, Josh Harrison hit a sacrifice fly that plated Polanco. Jordy Mercer then followed with a three-run home run. Mercer’s first home run since June 29th gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead.
Leading off the top of the 5th inning Corey Dickerson hit a ground ball that Colorado second baseman DJ LeMahieu whiffed on. The hustling Dickerson was able to reach second base, and then he went to third on a single by Marte.
Polanco stepped to the plate with just one hit in his last 18 at bats, but he ripped the ball to right field to score Dickerson and move Marte to third base. A Freese sacrifice fly would score Marte making the score 7-0 Pirates.
Two batters later, Cervelli doubled, taking third on the throw, to score Polanco. Cervelli’s hit gave the Bucs an 8-0 lead and brought Bettis’ night to an end.
Lefty Jake McGee replaced Bettis and was greeted by a two-run home run from Harrison. Harrison 7th home run of the season made the score 10-0 Pirates and closed the book on Bettis. In 4 2/3 innings pitched Bettis allowed nine runs, eight earned, on eight hits, two walks, and two home runs allowed.
This season Taillon has started to bud into the ace the Pirates envisioned when they drafted him second overall in 2010, and the latest example of that came on Tuesday night in Denver. Taillon was masterful against a strong Rockies lineup and in control all night.
Throughout the night Taillon kept Colorado hitters off balanced and induced soft contact. Of the eight hits he allowed, three of them came in succession in the bottom of the 5th inning leading to the lone Rockie runs of the night.
When the dust settled on Tuesday night Taillon had thrown the second complete game of his season and career. This made Jamo just the fourth pitcher in Pirate history to throw a complete game in Denver.
Taillon held the Rockies to just two runs on 10 hits, a walk, and three strikeouts in his complete game masterpiece. Due to the opponent and venue, an argument can be made that this was the most impressive start of Taillon’s young career.
Tuesday night was one of the best games the Pirates have played all season. The got an excellent start from Taillon, the offense scored early and often, the defense was flawless, and everything went their way. Hopefully, this can help springboard the Bucs to a series victory over the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon.
At 3:10 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon the Pirates and Rockies will play the aformentioned rubber match of this three-game series. Chris Archer (4.40 ERA, 3.75 FIP) will make his second Pirate start while the Rockies will turn to inconsistent righty German Marquez (4.70 ERA, 4.32 FIP).