Taillon boosts his confidence

Jameson Taillon didn’t look like the No. 2 overall pick last Saturday.

Taillon looked a lot like the No. 2 overall pick on Thursday.

Taillon pitched seven innings, striking out seven as the Curve beat Erie, 6-3, before 3,016 at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Thursday.

The win that Taillon got comes on start after he went just 3 innings on Saturday, getting shelled as Akron scored 10 runs on 13 hits.

“It was a big confidence booster,” Taillon said. “I put the last one behind me really quick so that’s why I did get to do what I did tonight. I got over my last one real quick. I realized it happens, and I worked my butt off in between starts. It paid off.”

Taillon, now 4-7, threw 96 pitches on Thursday, 62 of them for strikes. In his previous start, Taillon threw 75 pitches.

Consistency, Taillon admits, is the biggest thing he needs to work on.

“It’s just consistency,” he said. “Honestly, I didn’t throw the ball well, but I didn’t throw it as terrible as the line looked. But still, I’ve got to keep the ball down, keep it on the ground. I’d liked to get to the point where it’s seven innings, three runs is my worst outing.”

The win for Taillon is the first one since he beat Richmond on May 24. In that outing, Taillon threw just five innings and 98 pitches. While the Pirates normally do not like to allow minor league pitchers to go over 100 pitches, Taillon has struggled with innings and pitch counts all season long.

“He has to establish his fastball and throw the breaking ball for strikes,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “He will keep batters off the bases paths. He pitched to contact.”

In his previous before the shelling in Akron, Taillon pitched seven innings and 84 pitches. The one before that, he pitched 4 innings and tossed 91 pitches.

Taillon credited his success on Thursday to keeping the ball down, something he has been working on to help with pitch counts.

“I missed up maybe three, four, five times all night,” Taillon said. “When I’m down, obviously they are going to put the ball down. When I’m down, my curveball gets chased more.”

Taillon also settled in after giving up two runs in the second inning, something Garcia said is good for him.

Taillon allowed just one hit after the second inning.

“To his credit, it’s great as he calmed down,” Garcia said. “Somebody else can say, well here we go again. He kept throwing his pitches, didn’t panic.”

Game recap

Key player: Andy Vasquez went 2-for-4, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs.

Key play: Vasquez hit a lead-off homer in the first inning.

Key stat: RHP Jameson Taillon went seven innings, one outing after going 3 1/3 innings.

How they scored

Bottom 1st: Vasquez homered (1-0); Santos singled, scored on Cunningham (2-0).

Top 2nd: McCan singled, Douglas singled, both scored on Lemon single (2-2).

Bottom 3rd: Polanco singled, scored on Cunningham ground out (3-2).

Bottom 4th: Maggi tripled, scored on Vasquez single (4-2); Vasquez singled, scored on Polanco sacrifice fly (5-2); Santos singled, scored on throwing error by McCann (6-2).

Top 5th: Lemon tripled, scored on Johnson ground (6-3).