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Minneapolis

Pirates aim for season sweep over White Sox

Sports Xchange
16 May 2018, 13:16 GMT+10

The starters for Wednesday's second game of a short interleague series and final meeting of the season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox weren't set until Tuesday.

Pittsburgh right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.08 ERA) is scheduled to face White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago (0-1, 5.60 ERA).

Probably.

Taillon became questionable when he left his last start, Friday against San Francisco, after three innings because of a cut on the middle finger of his right hand, but manager Clint Hurdle said Taillon will be OK to go.

Santiago was pegged to make his third start, 12th appearance, when Chicago decided to push Carson Fulmer's start back to Friday against Texas at home to give him a full week off after he has struggled.

The Pirates (24-17) recorded their major-league-leading seventh shutout Tuesday with a 7-0 win over the White Sox (10-28).

The teams had a two-game set last week in Chicago, and Pittsburgh came back from four-run deficits both times to sweep the short series.

The Pirates will go for a sweep of this two-game set and all four games between the interleague clubs Wednesday.

Pittsburgh has won six of seven overall, totaling 49 runs in the six wins. The Pirates had 10 hits Tuesday.

"One through nine, we're all doing damage," said Pittsburgh's Josh Bell, who drove in three runs with two doubles. "A lot of fun baseball right now."

Pittsburgh center fielder Starling Marte (right side discomfort) and catcher Francisco Cervelli (hit by a pitch in the right forearm) left Tuesday's game. There was no update on their status.

Chicago did not get a boost from the return of leadoff man Yoan Moncada, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list after recovering from a tight left hamstring. He was 1-for-4.

Santiago pitched one inning in relief in that two-game series last week, allowing no hits and striking out one. His only other career appearance against the Pirates was a start in 2016, when he gave up four hits and three runs in four innings and did not get a decision.

In his last start, May 5 against Minnesota in an 8-4 loss, he allowed all eight runs in 3 1/3 innings, yielding six hits and six costly walks, while striking out two.

"I pulled a lot of fastballs, which is weird for me because usually if I miss then I'm missing up and away or up and in to a lefty," Santiago said. "So little different kind of scenario there. I was trying to figure out which way to go, trying to make that adjustment, and I just never figured that out.

"I went back and looked at it. Velocity was there, which hasn't been that good in a while. Probably felt too good."

Fulmer was given extra rest after compiling a 6.23 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 30 1/3 innings that include eight starts and one relief appearance. His last time out, he gave up five runs in 1 2/3 innings, including a grand slam, Friday against the Cubs.

For Taillon, the laceration on his finger is just his latest hiccup.

"It's tough in the short term to come out of a game, but, hopefully, by coming out when I did, we've kind of mitigated it. ... Hopefully we caught it early enough to where it won't bother me for the rest of the year or anything," Taillon said.

Taillon, who has never faced the White Sox, pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts against the Giants before he had to leave. It might have otherwise been a game that indicated he had gotten back on track after struggling following a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts April 8 in a 5-0 win over Cincinnati.

He is 0-3 in six ensuing starts, including giving up a season-high seven runs in 3 2/3 innings April 25 against Detroit.

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