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Vazquez exits with forearm discomfort in loss

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Jameson Taillon got a much needed quality start Sunday, but the Pirates’ bullpen cost him the win, and ultimately, the game, losing 6-4 to drop the series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Leading 4-3 in the eighth, reliever Michael Feliz got himself into trouble immediately with a bloop single and two walks to open the inning. He then struck out a batter, which was a good enough situation for Clint Hurdle to go to Felipe Vazquez for a potential five out save, but the Pirates’ closer did not fare much better. He too allowed a bloop single and two walks in his third of the inning to give up the lead.

“What we put down, we weren’t able to execute,” Hurdle said.

It was Vazquez’s third consecutive blown save. He was seen grabbing his elbow at the end of his outing and in the dugout after. Todd Tomczyk said Vazquez felt discomfort his last two pitches, and the club has initially diagnosed him with left forearm discomfort.

On the starting side, Taillon went slider heavy, throwing it as often as his four-seamer- 30 times.

“So the idea when I introduced that pitch was to have it take pressure off my fastball, hitter’s counts” Taillon said. “I was hoping that one day it would kind of morph into a strikeout pitch or an out pitch, and I got a little bit of everything today. I got some called strikes, some swing and miss, some weak contact. So it’s just a little easier to throw than a curveball for a strike.”

He had seven swinging and five called strikes with the pitch. Of the 10 balls put in play, the Cardinals went 2-10 with two weak contact singles.

The first of those two singles was an infield, RBI knock for Marcell Ozuna in the first to give the Cardinals a 1-0 advantage. Colin Moran singled home Austin Meadows- who stole second- in the fourth to tie the game, and an Adam Frazier two run triple and Meadows’ sac fly made it 4-1 Pirates after five.

Taillon was pulled after one out in the seventh after back to back singles who eventually came home on a base hit by Jedd Gyorko off Edgar Santana. Taillon finished with 6.1 innings pitched, three earned runs, six strikeouts, one walk and five hits allowed. He threw a first pitch strike to 17 of the 25 batters he faced and retired 13 on three pitches or less.

Michael Feliz takes the loss to fall to 0-2. Sam Tuivailala wins his first decision of the year after picking up Miles Mikolas, who gave up four runs in six innings. Bud Norris picked up his 11th save.

From GM NH

Here are the three things you need to know from general manager Neal Huntington’s talk with the media today:

On Ivan Nova’s right ring finger injury:

“In a perfect world, he’d just miss a start, but we’re in the middle of a consecutive game stretch...if that’s the case, it makes more sense for us to put him on the disabled list.”

On Austin Meadows’ role with the club:

"Austin Meadows isn’t here as a fourth outfielder. He’s here as part of a four outfielder group that allows us to keep these other guys strong or, ideally, get Gregory Polanco right."

On the MLB Draft, which will be held June 4-6. The Pirates have the 10th overall pick:

“There doesn’t seem to be a marquee guy...There’s some college pitching, there’s some college position players and guys who have taken some steps forward this year, so we’ll have to figure out what’ different and can they sustain it. There’s always high school arms and some high school guys, so it’s all four quadrants here…[The number] one [pick] seems to be set right now, but two through nine are the variable to this point.”

On Deck

Chad Kuhl (4-2, 4.20) will take the bump for the Pirates Monday at 1:35 p.m. as the Bucs welcome to Cubs for a three game set. Chicago has not announced a starter yet to take the place of Yu Darvish, who was recently placed on the DL.

NUMB3RS

1. Meadows is the only player in baseball with more stolen bases (3) than strikeouts (2).

2. The Pirates have recorded an extra base hit in 24 consecutive games- a season high- and in 50 of their 52 overall.

3. This is the first time all year the Pirates have lost after leading through seven innings (23-1).

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