Playing in the Eastern League, Jameson Taillon knows he won't get the chance to pitch in front of his parents too often.
When he heard mom Christie would be in town for Mother's Day, Taillon (2-4) made a point of putting on a show.
MLB.com's No. 15 prospect allowed a pair of singles and three walks while striking out eight batters over six shutout innings in the Double-A Altoona Curve's 2-1 win over the visiting Richmond Flying Squirrels.
"She was in the stands today, so it was good to have a solid outing with her here," Taillon said. "My parents don't get to many games, maybe one start a year, so it means more."
Taillon's mother flew from Houston to Washington D.C. on Saturday and made her way four hours north to State College and then Altoona. She met her son for dinner and the pair already had plans for Sunday night.
"It's definitely not easy to get to Altoona, but I'm glad she made the trip," said Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect behind Gerrit Cole. "She leaves on Tuesday, but we have a Make-A-Wish charity bowling tournament tonight and she is my partner."
Before Taillon hit the lanes, he had business to take care of on the mound. The 21-year-old allowed baserunners in five of the six innings, but only two Richmond hitter reached scoring position.
The biggest threat came in the fourth inning when Mark Minicozzi singled to center field and Andrew Susac walked. Minicozzi went to third base on Ricky Oropesa's forceout, but Taillon struck out Jarrett Parker and induced an inning-ending ground ball off the bat of Ehire Adrianza to keep the game scoreless.
"It was solid. I went out there and stuck with my gameplan. I mixed it up and got ground balls and went deep. That's everything I'm looking for in an outing," Taillon said.
"The first time through their lineup, I established the fastball in and showed them my changeup and got a couple strikeouts on it and that was big for me. I threw some changeups in hitters' counts and got them thinking about stuff, and my curveball was what I got most of my strikeouts with."
The 6-foot-6 right-hander retired nine of the final 10 batters, and while he did not factor in the decision, he snapped a string of three consecutive defeats.
The last time Taillon earned a win was against the Flying Squirrels on April 17, when he surrendered two hits and three walks over seven innings in his third start of the year.
Since then, he has yielded 12 earned runs across four outings, including his May 7 start against Harrisburg, when he gave up four runs on seven hits over a season-low three innings.
"I was a little better in the zone and out of the zone," Taillon said. "My balls had a little more purpose and my strikes were better. I was missing with some conviction.
"When I face [Richmond], I throw it well. There's nothing glaring that they do. I've faced them four times and this is the third time this year. I've had two good and one not so good. They have a balanced lineup. They have power hitters and oppo hitters and fast runners."
A Futures Game selection and Florida State League All-Star with Class A Advanced Bradenton last season, Taillon has been especially effective against Richmond at home.
In three home starts against the Flying Squirrels, Taillon has allowed five hits while striking out 21 batters over 19 innings. He has not allowed a run against the Flying Squirrels, and he has retired 57 of the 68 batters he's faced.
"Putting the ball on the ground is big," he said. "When you do that, you're spotting up well and keeping it down and getting angle on your pitches. My first baseman [Andrew Lambo] made an unbelievable diving play down the line and my catcher [Carlos Paulino] threw a guy out.
"I've worked hard between starts and I've put in the work in my lifting program and bullpens."
Jhonathan Ramos gave up a run on two walks over 1 1/3 innings and Ethan Hollingsworth (1-2) picked up the win after working around two free passes over 1 2/3 hitless innings. Rehabbing second baseman Neil Walker was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Richmond's Phil McCormick (1-2) surrendered an unearned run in the ninth to take the loss.