Rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski hit his 14th home run, Daniel Vogelbach added his 11th and the Pittsburgh Pirates spoiled Jameson Taillon’s return to PNC Park with a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Taillon (9-2), a high draft pick by the Pirates who spent more than a decade in the organization before being traded to New York in January 2021, lost for the first time since April 11. He gave up a solo shot to Vogelbach in the first inning and a two-run homer just over the center-field wall by Suwinski in the fourth. Taillon was pulled with one out in the sixth after allowing five runs and six hits with five strikeouts.
Jose Quintana (2-4) held New York in check for five innings and Pittsburgh’s bullpen did the rest. David Bednar worked the ninth for his 13th save as the Pirates sent the Yankees to consecutive losses for just the fifth time this season.
Pittsburgh leaned into a rare visit by the Yankees, whose first appearance at PNC Park since 2017 produced the first sellout of the season at a ballpark that is typically more than half-empty most nights.
Pirates Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski, who hit the clinching home run in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees at Forbes Field, threw out the first pitch. Former Pittsburgh star turned Yankees ace Gerrit Cole met with the media for more than 20 minutes before signing autographs in his first appearance at the park since Pittsburgh traded him to Houston in January 2018.
New York reached the season’s midway point at 58-23, the best record in the majors by a significant margin and well ahead of the club’s pace last year, when the Yankees slogged to a 41-40 mark through the first 81 games.
New York rallied to make the playoffs a year ago. That likely won’t be required this time around, not with the Yankees entering the day leading the AL East by a staggering 13 games.
Still, New York’s blistering pace has cooled a bit of late with the All-Star break approaching. The Yankees are 2-3 halfway through their four-city road trip that wraps up in Boston this weekend.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa had three hits for New York. Gleyber Torres and Matt Carpenter added two apiece. Aaron Judge went 1 for 5, grounding into an inning-ending double-play with two runners on in the seventh and striking out looking with a runner on to end the game, symbolic of a night when the Yankees left nine men on.
Cole was in line to get a start at PNC Park before a rainout in Cleveland last Friday shuffled New York’s rotation. Taillon made his scheduled start, with the Pirates offering the second overall pick in the 2010 draft a short video tribute before playing Taillon’s traditional warmup song — “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin — as he took the mound.
The good vibes for Taillon ended shortly thereafter. Vogelbach led off the second with a rocket to the seats above the Clemente Wall in right field and the Pirates tacked on three more in the fourth, highlighted by Suwinski’s arcing shot into the first row of seats.
The Yankees were retired in order just once, but the highest-scoring team in the majors couldn’t string together the kind of rally that’s been their trademark during a sizzling first half.
Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo was scratched an hour before first pitch with lower back tightness. DJ LeMahieu filled in for Rizzo at first. … RHP Domingo Germán (right shoulder) will make at least one more rehab start before the team makes a decision on when he might be activated off the 60-day injured list. Manager Aaron Boone said Germán “looked good” and he is “encouraged” by Germán’s progress. … RHP Miguel Castro (paternity leave/restricted list) could rejoin the team on Wednesday.
ON THE MOVE
Pittsburgh first baseman Yoshi Tsutsugo and outfielder Ben Gamel both started in their return from the injured list. The Pirates optioned infielders Hoy Park and Tucupita Maracano to Triple-A Indianapolis, placed catcher Tyler Heineman on paternity leave and added catcher Jason Delay to the taxi squad. Infielder Yu Chang, designated for assignment last week, was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay.
New York’s Luis Severino (4-3, 3.35 ERA) will try to pick up his first win in a month when he faces Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller (2-5, 5.14) on Wednesday. Keller has allowed three runs or fewer in five of his last six starts following a brief stint in the bullpen.