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Pirates end eight-game losing streak

Jung-Ho Kang’s eighth inning home run and Trevor Williams’ strong relief was enough to propel the Pirates to a 4-3 win against the Cardinals Wednesday, snapping an eight game losing streak.

Williams picked up his first win in his major league debuting, going three innings while only allowing one unearned run.

He celebrated the win afterwards by leaning over the railing to see his son, kiss his wife and hug his dad, who will be getting his first strikeout ball.

“You dream about it your entire life and you picture it happening, but it’s one of those things where you let the emotion take over you,” Williams said.

Tony Watson picked up his 11th save one night after blowing a late lead, tossing a spotless inning. Matt Carpenter, who hit the two strike home run that opened the floodgates a night ago, popped to right to end the game.

Clint Hurdle said Watson gave him the greenlight to use him a third day in a row if the Pirates had the lead or the game was tied.

“I’ve been in this situation before where you give up some and you sit around for a couple days. It’s good to get back out there,” Watson said.

Jameson Taillon was not his usual, efficient self, starting the game by surrendering three straight singles before recording an out. He was able to work around six hits, a hit batter and walk thanks to three double-plays.

“I thought my stuff came and went a little bit tonight, but it came a little more than it went, and it came when I needed it,” Taillon said.

He ended his night after five innings of two run ball.

After Gregory Polanco and Kang drove in runs against Cardinals’ starter Mike Leake in the first, Josh Harrison put the Pirates in front in the fourth with a sacrifice fly that plated Francisco Cervelli.

Williams took the mound in the sixth, and his first pitch in the show was dropped by Adam Frazier in right for a two base error. Yadier Molina would end up scoring later that inning when Randal Grichuk snuck a soft liner by a drawn-in infield, but Williams settled from there. He struck out three, walked one and was on the hook for three hits.

He stranded the go-ahead run in scoring position in the seventh and eighth.

“Pitching out of jams is what you have to do coming out of the bullpen,” Williams said. “…I’m just glad I pitched well enough tonight to keep them away from home.”

Kang’s home run was a leadoff towering shot to center on a 99 MPH fastball on a 1-2 count. It was his third home run since coming off the disabled-list Monday.

“I think the rehab went well overall,” Kang said through interpreter H.K. Kim. “That’s what led to what I did ( the last) couple nights.”

Cardinals’ top prospect Alex Reyes was handed his first big league loss (1-1). He struck out six and allowed two hits in 3.2 innings.

The Pirates will play host to the Reds for the final time this year starting Thursday. Ivan Nova (4-0, 2.89) will take on Dan Straily (11-7, 3.83) at 7:05 p.m..

1. Williams is the 12th Pirate rookie to make his MLB debut this season.

2. This was the second home win in the Pirates’ last 12.

3. Frazier is batting better in at-bats that start with strike one (.408) than ball one (.355).

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