Andrew McCutchen can't get a timeout; Jameson Taillon struggles, but Pirates beat Reds
CINCINNATI — After nine years in the majors, Andrew McCutchen believes he deserves a timeout.
When he wasn't given a moment to gather himself Sunday, McCutchen got into a lengthy altercation with the umpire.
McCutchen cooled off in time to drive in what turned out to be the decisive run in the Pirates' 5-2 victory against the Cincinnati Reds.
"That's what it's all about," McCutchen said. "I'm not going to let anyone get in my head."
The disagreement between McCutchen and home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg wasn't the only adversity the Pirates faced. Adam Frazier left the game in the third inning with a hamstring injury.
The Reds forced Jameson Taillon into an early exit after he threw 108 pitches over just four innings. Joey Votto tied a club record with four walks, three of them coming on 31 total pitches from Taillon.
"A future Hall of Famer doing his thing. He wore me out," Taillon said. "On Friday, I think he swung at the first pitch in all four at-bats. Against me, he got in there and was choking up like it was 0-2 and was ready to grind."
Taillon gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits, walked four and struck out four.
In nine starts since the All-Star break, Taillon is 2-3 with a 7.68 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. He has some work to do over the next couple of days with pitching coach Ray Searage.
"I can keep it as simple as he's not throwing enough strikes," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's not trying to pitch around or away from people. But over the last two times out, he's thrown close to 200 pitches. He's got to sharpen up the command."
Making his big league debut, Reds righty Tyler Mahle (0-1) retired seven of the first nine in short order. After grounding out in the second inning, Josh Harrison warned his teammates that Mahle was working very quickly.
"I don't know if (Mahle) was used to the minor league rules with the pitch clock or what," Harrison said. "I told the guys, 'Hey, we've got to slow him down. He's working kind of quick to the point where you almost are not ready.' "
With the Pirates trailing 1-0 in the fourth, McCutchen hit the deck when Mahle buzzed him with a 93 mph fastball. Two pitches later, Kellogg ignored McCutchen's requests for a timeout.
"(Mahle) was being quick to the plate, not giving me time to get myself set and ready to hit," McCutchen said. "I asked for (a timeout) three times, and I got it once."
McCutchen was still asking for time as Mahle delivered his pitch. McCutchen grounded out to short and began yelling as he jogged down the first-base line.
"I wasn't calling time to be a (jerk)," McCutchen. "It's all about safety. If I'm not ready and I get buzzed again, I could be hit by that pitch."
McCutchen said Kellogg accused him of "playing games" by asking for time.
Hurdle went out to intervene as McCutchen got in Kellogg's face. Third base coach Joey Cora pulled McCutchen into the dugout, where McCutchen continued his tirade.
In addition to seething over the knockdown pitch, McCutchen, a nine-year veteran and former MVP, resented that Mahle, a rookie, was given preference by Kellogg.
"I understand (the rule book)," Hurdle said. "There's also (the fact) that (McCutchen) is working on nine years' experience, and the kid's got one day. The man's earned an opportunity to get time out every now and then."
McCutchen was still barking when Josh Bell walked and Josh Harrison was hit by a two-strike pitch. John Jaso lined a two-run double over the first-base bag, which gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
"I wouldn't say (Mahle) was rattled," Harrison said. "We got him out of his rhythm. Anytime you can get a starting pitcher into the stretch, it's going to be different."
In the fifth, Starling Marte led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. McCutchen snapped an 0-for-15 skid by lining an RBI single up the middle off Mahle to make it 3-1.
"I made the adjustment," McCutchen said. "I didn't leave the box. I was ready. If that's the way the game is going to be played, that's how I'm going to play it. It was good to be victorious for one at-bat."
Marte drilled a two-run single off Raisel Iglesias in the ninth.
The Reds got another run off Taillon in the fifth. After that, A.J. Schugel (3-0), Daniel Hudson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero combined for five scoreless innings to preserve the win.
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.