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Pirates fall to Cubs 8-2 in waterlogged series finale

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Jon Lester pitched six innings of one run baseball, while Jameson Taillon was tuned up for six runs in 4.2 innings pitched, as the Bucs split their final season series with Chicago.

After taking the first two games from the Cubs, the back end of the four-game series soured up for the Pirates, who dropped back-to-back duds to Chicago (77-63) culminating with an 8-2 thumping by the NL Central leaders at a damp PNC Park Thursday night.

The Cubs take the season series 10-9.

Pittsburgh (67-74) starter Jameson Taillon, who had to wait out a 51-minute rain delay prior to first pitch, struggled in his outing, giving up six earned runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings pitched. 

The Cubs stayed consistent and true on Taillon, scoring runs in each of his five frames pitched, including a two-run 5th inning, in which a Jason Hayward double that scored Ben Zobrist, chased the pitcher from the game.

“Frustrating is probably the best word,” said Taillon on Thursday’s performance.  “I felt strong.  I felt great.  No one cares how you feel, you still have to go out there and get outs.  They were just hitting every single mistake I made.  I guess you can’t make mistakes.”

Eight starters, including pitcher Jon Lester, who doubled in Hayward in the 4th inning, notched at least one hit.  Ian Happ, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo combined for 6-of-12.

“He had good stuff.  He wasn’t as sharp, but I liked his execution and rotation of pitches,” said Clint Hurdle of his starter.  “He made some mistakes with runners on base.  Some of the curveballs and changeups were up in the zone.  He only walked one guy.  He got seven batters out on three pitches or less.  He threw 21 of 25 first-pitch strikes.”

On the other end of the night, Lester dominated the Bucs to the tune of five innings, giving up just one earned run off five hits, corralling five strikeouts.  Taillon, who went 2-for-2 at the dish, was the only member of the Pirates’ offense to clip a multi-hit game.  Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Bell combined for a dismal 2-for-10.

“He was able to make pitches,” said Hurdle of Lester.  “He was able to work the strike zone.  He’s a good pitcher.  He’s a smart pitcher.  He threw strikes when he needed to throw strikes to stay in the hunt.”

The Pirates scored their lone run in the eighth inning on a Jordan Luplow (1-for-4) double past the shortstop Javier Baez, scoring McCutchen. 

Feels like the first time

Chris Bostick (1-for-2) brought a silver lining to an otherwise gloomy day for the home ballclub, as the rookie left fielder belted his first career major league hit—a double off the right field wall—in the ninth inning.

“It was definitely exciting,” said Bostick, who found the humor in achieving the hit during a pop up rain shower.  “I walked up to the plate thinking, ‘man, what a funny way if this actually happen.’  It was real cool.”

“Doubles are always cool,” said the rookie, who hit .294 with 33 doubles and 57 RBIs in 126 games in Indianapolis this year.  “It was good to just get one.  It hasn’t been too long, but I’m sure that everybody else feels the pressure that you want to get the first one out of the way so you can relax and do your thing.”

After the moneyline

The Pirates failed to hit for a third time in this four-game series as the underdog (+120).  The total, which was set at 7.5 runs, went over for the first time in two games. 

Up next

Pittsburgh will travel to St. Louis to face the Cardinals in a weekend series.  Trevor Williams (6-7, 4.14) will square off against Luke Weaver (4-1, 2.50) Friday night.  First pitch is set for 8:15.

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