Taillon tosses 1-hitter, Pirates top Reds 5-0
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon dominated the struggling Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, allowing just one hit while picking up the first shutout of his career as the surprising Pirates rolled to a 5-0 victory.
Taillon (2-0) struck out seven and walked two. The lone hit he surrendered came on Tyler Mahle’s single to center with one out in the third. Taillon even added an RBI single off Mahle (1-1) in the second.
A night after missing a start due to concerns over a bruised right foot, Gregory Polanco turned on a Mahle pitch and sent it into the right-field seats for a two-run homer in the fifth. Corey Dickerson tacked on a solo drive later in the inning, his first with Pittsburgh after being acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay.
Polanco and Josh Harrison each had two hits for the Pirates. Polanco drove in two runs to push his total to 13. The right fielder didn’t reach 13 RBIs last season until June 3.
Mahle lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his sixth major league start. The rookie was sparkling while limiting the Chicago Cubs to one hit over six innings in his 2018 debut, but couldn’t keep the surging Pirates in check.
Mahle allowed five runs and nine hits. He came undone in the fourth when the Pirates pushed across four runs.
The struggling Reds were dealt a serious blow in the fourth inning when third baseman Eugenio Suarez fractured his right thumb when he was hit by a Taillon pitch. He took first base after being tended to by trainers but was removed in favor of Cliff Pennington when Cincinnati took the field in the bottom of the inning.
Cincinnati managed just two baserunners after Suarez’s exit, both coming on two-out walks in the seventh and the ninth.
The Pirates are relying heavily on their young rotation if they want to be a factor in the competitive NL Central and Taillon has looked very much like the ace Pittsburgh envisioned after trading Gerrit Cole to Houston in the offseason.
Manager Clint Hurdle sent Taillon back out for the ninth for the first time in Taillon’s career and after walking Pennington with two outs, Taillon retired Joey Votto on a lineout to left to give the Pirates their first solo one-hitter since A.J. Burnett accomplished the feat against the Cubs on July 31, 2012.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove remains in a non-throwing period after being placed on the disabled list last week with a right shoulder strain. General manager Neal Huntington said the plan remains for Musgrove — who excelled after being moved from the rotation to the bullpen last season for Houston — to work toward being a member of the rotation in Pittsburgh.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (left biceps strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Monday.
Reds: Visit Philadelphia for three games starting Monday. Cody Reed will make his 2018 debut for the Reds. The 24-year-old is 1-8 with a 6.75 ERA in 22 career games for Cincinnati.
Pirates: Begin a six-game, seven-day road trip in Chicago on Monday against the Cubs. Pittsburgh went 4-5 last season at Wrigley Field. Ivan Nova (0-1, 6.10 ERA) faces Chicago’s Tyler Chatwood (0-1, 1.50 ERA).