The last time that Jameson Taillon toed the rubber for the Altoona Curve, he established a career high with 10 strikeouts. On Wednesday afternoon, MLB.com's No. 15 overall prospect burnished his professional resume even further.
Taillon scattered two hits and three walks while striking out six over seven scoreless innings, improving to 2-1 on the season as the Double-A Curve held on for a 4-3 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
This marked the fourth occasion in the 21-year-old's career that he lasted seven innings, and the first at the Double-A level. Taillon also exceeded the 100-pitch threshold for the first time, finishing the day with a palindromic 101.
"I was pretty comfortable out there, and that comes down to having a gameplan with the coaches and the catcher and then putting it in action," said Taillon, who has allowed just two earned runs over 18 innings this season. "[Catcher Charles Cutler] and I were on the same page all day -- I wasn't shaking him off much at all."
Nonetheless, Taillon got off to a bit of a shaky start. The 6-foot-6 native of Florida allowed two runners to reach base in both the first and third innings, three of them on walks. He acknowledged that he "fell out of the zone" and was "still feeling out my delivery" during this stretch of the contest, but wasn't about to blame that on the anomalous game time. The day's action at Altoona's People's Natural Gas Field began at 10:30 a.m. with the completion of Tuesday's suspended game, with Andrew Lambo winning it for the Curve with an 11th inning walk-off single. About 30 minutes later, Taillon took the mound.
"After my first two years in pro ball, I'm used to that kind of stuff. You get thrown into those sorts of situations all the time," he said. "I remember one start I had in Daytona that was game two of a rain-delayed doubleheader. It was 10:30 at night and I'm out there stretching as fireworks are going off between games."
During his final four innings on Wednesday, Taillon was nearly unhittable, retiring 12 of the 13 batters he faced.
"As the game went on, I picked up my pace and intensity. I started pounding the zone and was able to power downhill with my fastball," he said. "I don't know if I'd ever gotten to 100 pitches before, but I was prepared to do it. We played a pretty long game yesterday [before it was suspended], so I really wanted to go out there and eat up some innings. That's something I take pride in -- to be decently efficient and make the most of my pitches."
With Taillon finally out of the ballgame, the Flying Squirrels mounted a late comeback attempt. Javier Herrera's three-run homer off of Nathan Baker with one out in the eighth pulled Richmond to within one, but Jeff Inman recorded the final five outs without incident en route to his first save of the season.
The game's early start time meant that the Curve players would have plenty of time to savor their victory, but Taillon was planning on keeping his celebrations low-key.
"I'm just going to put on some gym shorts and a t-shirt, and then my roommates and I are going to pop in Django and hang out for a while," he said.