PITTSBURGH (AP) — The way Jameson Taillon pitched was only part of his perfect night at the ballpark Wednesday.
Taillon was announced as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented annually by Major League Baseball to a player “who shows extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
Clemente spent his entire career with the Pirates from 1954-72 before dying in a plane crash while attempting to transport supplies from his native Puerto Rico to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. Taillon met the Hall of Fame outfielder’s widow, Vera, and three children prior to the game.
“It was the first time I ever had the opportunity to meet them and it was quite an honor, especially meeting the namesake of the man the award is named after,” Taillon said. “That was really special. Then to go out and win the game made things even more special.”
The right-hander tossed five effective innings and helped send Homer Bailey to yet another loss as the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 to sweep their three-game series.
Taillon (12-9) allowed only one run as he scattered eight hits and walked none while striking out six. He is 5-2 with a 2.56 ERA in his last eight starts.
Bailey (1-14) lost his ninth straight decision, and the Reds are 1-19 in his starts this season after he gave up three runs in five innings.
Cincinnati put multiple runners on base during four of Taillon’s five innings but managed only one run when Jose Peraza homered in the first. Down 3-1, the Reds left the bases loaded in the fifth when Taillon struck out Scott Schebler to end the inning on his 100th and final pitch.
“I had to regroup and get Schebler,” Taillon said. “If I don’t, it ruins the whole night.”
“It was a lot of grit, will and making pitches when he had to,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Felipe Vazquez survived a shaky ninth inning, allowing Dilson Herrera’s pinch-hit RBI double with none out, before earning his 30th save. After Herrera made it 3-2, Vazquez struck out Philip Ervin and Billy Hamilton, then walked Peraza and Joey Votto before getting NL batting leader Scooter Gennett to hit a game-ending comebacker.
“He’s done that before,” Hurdle said. “It seems like when the situation arrives where there’s complications, he shows how collected he is.”
Bailey’s lone win this year came May 12 at Dodger Stadium.
“The bottom line is winning and losing,” he said when asked how he felt about his outing.
Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli hit back-to-back RBI singles with one out in the third to snap a 1-all tie. Colin Moran drew Pittsburgh even an inning earlier with a run-scoring double.
Peraza, Schebler, Votto and Mason Williams each had two hits for the Reds, who outhit Pittsburgh 11-6.
The Pirates lead the season series 12-4 and sent the Reds to their 11th loss in 14 games.
“They made the pitches to get out of trouble,” Cincinnati interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “We had the bases loaded, they got out of that one. They got out of the one there late. Just coming up short.”
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (strained right forearm) had a 30-pitch bullpen, throwing all fastballs, and the team is hopeful he will be able to pitch in either a major league game before the end of the season or in the fall instructional league. Kuhl has been out since June 27.
A GRAND FOR BAILEY
Bailey, a 12-year veteran, recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in the fourth when he got Taillon swinging to end the inning. Bailey threw the first of two career no-hitters at Pittsburgh in 2012.
Pirates INF Kevin Kramer made his major league debut in the seventh inning, flying out as a pinch-hitter. He was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. SS Kevin Newman was on first base at the time, which surely delighted fans of the TV comedy series “Seinfeld.”
BELL SITS AGAIN
Pittsburgh 1B Josh Bell was on the bench for a second straight night. He is hitless in 13 at-bats over his last four games.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (8-11, 4.83 ERA) will pitch Thursday night against San Diego LHP Eric Lauer (5-7, 5.01) in opener of a four-game series at Cincinnati.
Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (4-7, 4.56) starts Friday night against RHP Dan Straily (5-6, 4.13) and the visiting Marlins to begin a three-game series.
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