Jameson Taillon felt like he earned the right to pitch on Tuesday. Then he went out and proved it.
The Pirates' top prospect allowed one hit over seven innings in his longest outing as a pro, pitching Class A Advanced Bradenton to a 7-0 blanking of St. Lucie.
Taillon (4-6), who struck out five and walked three, allowed only a fifth-inning single to Blake Forsythe. He threw 47 of 78 pitches for strikes and faced only four over the minimum in his 14th start for the Marauders.
"It's one of those days where I felt like I had all three pitches working for me," Taillon said. "I had good command of my fastball, in and out and up and down. I worked it inside early, that was the key. I was trying to make them uncomfortable. After that, it was three-pitch mix."
Taillon, who pitched six innings on June 2 against Brevard County to match his longest previous outing, had struggled in his six starts. Over 31 innings, he surrendered 28 earned runs on 41 hits while striking out 26. The biggest difference Tuesday was mental, not physical.
"I'd say it was attitude," Taillon said. "My attitude tonight was that I deserved to be there and I've been working hard -- have some fun, play the game and have a positive outlook. Honestly, it's a lot more fun when you throw well. We've started off the second half really well."
The second overall pick in the 2010 Draft was excited to make his way past the sixth for the first time. Despite walking two in the inning, it was a great experience.
"I was pumped to see the seventh," Taillon said. "You have to earn it at this level. It's all about the pitch count and how efficient you can be. Whenever you can see the seventh at this level, you know you've done something right."
MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect lowered his ERA to 4.10 in his second season as a pro. He ranks seventh in the Florida State League with 67 strikeouts over 74 2/3 innings and opponents are batting .234 against him.
The 20-year-old right-hander began the season in the rotation with Gerrit Cole, who will make his Double-A debut Wednesday. Taillon hopes to follow the top overall pick in last year's Draft but understands he has to earn a promotion.
"It was awesome that [Cole] got to move up, it's always good to see a good friend get moved up one step closer," Taillon said. "It's one of those things that I can't really control and I have to keep going out there and doing my thing.
"I'd say [I have to] show consistency and not have as many ups and downs. Just string together good starts. You don't have to be great every time, just show you can be good on a consistent basis."
Kenn Kasparek allowed a hit and walk in the eighth and Zach Foster tossed a hitless ninth to wrap up Bradenton's fifth shutout.
Mel Rojas was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Kirk Singer plated a pair of runs for the Marauders.