Lindblom eases burden on 'pen in LA return

Lindblom eases burden on 'pen in LA return

LOS ANGELES -- On a night when the Pirates were in desperate need of innings from their bullpen, journeyman Josh Lindblom stepped up.

Just hours after the Pirates announced Jameson Taillon underwent surgery for suspected testicular cancer, his rotation replacement, right-hander Trevor Williams, was tagged for eight runs in just three innings in a 12-1 loss to the Dodgers.

But rather than taxing their bullpen with five innings of relief in a lopsided defeat, the Bucs leaned on Lindblom, who got them through the seventh inning.

"Anything I can do to help, especially with the long road trip," Lindblom said. "Hopefully we can set up our bullpen and come back tomorrow and bounce back, put us in a position to win."

In his just his second Major League appearance since April 2, 2014, with the A's, Lindblom tossed four innings and made 87 pitches. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks against a hot-hitting Dodgers lineup and struck out four batters before Pittsburgh turned to righty Daniel Hudson for the final inning.

"He puts us in a position to win the next two games," manager Clint Hurdle said. "[Wade] LeBlanc is a guy who can play against this lineup. They've had some challenges hitting left-handed pitching. If we would have had to use him for a couple innings tonight, it would have complicated things moving forward. So for Josh to come in and give us that kind of length tonight was very important for us to manage the next two games."

Monday's outing marked Lindlom's return to Dodger Stadium, the ballpark where his career began; he made his Major League debut for the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 1, 2011. It's been a long road back to the big leagues for the 29-year-old, who pitched in Korea from 2015-16 before returning to the United States when his daughter was born in October with a rare congenital heart defect.

Lindblom returns to Majors

Lindblom signed a Minor League deal with the Pirates in December and was called up when Taillon was placed on the disabled list Saturday. He made his season debut at PNC Park on Sunday, recording the final out in a loss to the Brewers before getting his second appearance on Monday.

"I wish we would have won, that's first and foremost, but lots of memories, lots of emotions pulling up to the drive," Lindblom said of returning to Dodger Stadium. "Really cool for this to be my first stop back."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.