Pirates' Taillon solid in Double-A debut

Top prospect strikes out six, allows four hits over five innings

By Danny Wild / MLB.com | August 21, 2012 7:34 PM ET

Jameson Taillon had one complaint following his Double-A debut.

"Not getting hit in the butt with that line drive. Got a good bruise there," he joked.

Taillon took a glancing blow from a comebacker but struck out six over five innings to get the win in his first Eastern League start Tuesday as Altoona blanked Trenton, 5-0, at Waterfront Park.

Taillon (1-0) threw 46 of 67 pitches for strikes and held the Yankees' affiliate to four hits without issuing a walk. The Pirates' top prospect, who had six wins and a 3.82 ERA in 23 Florida State League starts, was the second overall pick in the 2010 Draft.

"It's just one more level up and another level up with more professional hitters, more sound approaches, and they don't miss mistakes," he said. "They're a little smarter, older and stronger, and they do the little things well. They work the count and get their pitches. They have a plan and it makes it really fun to pitch against."

The 20-year-old right-hander worked out of trouble in the first. After striking out Adonis Garcia, he gave up a double to J.R. Murphy but got Zoilo Almonte -- the Yankees' No. 15 prospect -- to line into an inning-ending double play.

Taillon took Addison Maruszak's two-out single off his backside in the second but fanned Rob Segedin for his second strikeout of the inning to end the threat.

The Texas native, who said he threw only five changeups, struck out two more in a 1-2-3 third, worked around a pair of singles in the fourth and pitched a perfect fifth, finishing just under his 70-pitch limit.

Taillon struck out four straight batters between the second and third innings, his best run of the night. In the fourth, Almonte and Luke Murton hit consecutive singles, but Murton was thrown out trying to stretch his into a double.

"I didn't even know about that exactly, but there was a good stretch," he said of the consecutive strikeouts. "I was getting good outs, getting ahead, putting guys away when I needed to. My fastball command was really good tonight, my curve was extremely sharp."

Taillon, a 6-foot-6 righty, throws a fastball, curve, slider and changeup. And despite moving up a level, Tuesday's start was his sharpest since Aug. 4 (he'd allowed five runs -- three earned -- in his final two outings in Florida).

"It's one of those things. I would like to throw a few more [changeups]," Taillon said. "Once you get thrown into the fire, it's about getting people out, no matter what it takes. It never came out of the bag too much. ... I threw it a couple times, I'd like to throw it more at this level, especially. The development is nice, but you have to get outs."

MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect struck out 98 over 125 innings with the Marauders and held FSL foes to a .230 average, with the Pirates generally limiting him to five or six innings per start. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in 15 of 23 starts before the promotion.

Hunter Strickland reliever Taillon in the sixth and allowed one hit over three innings before Victor Black pitched around a walk in the ninth to finish off the five-hitter.

Altoona gave its new starter some early run support as Matt Curry singled home Adalberto Santos in the first.

Brett Marshall (13-6), the Yankees' No. 20 prospect, was charged with four runs on nine hits over six innings for Trenton.

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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