Gomez acknowledges room to improve

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Look what the wind blew out -- a two-run home run by Miguel Cabrera in the third inning of the Pirates' 4-1 loss to the Tigers on Saturday.

Without the seriously wind-aided blow, the Pirates probably would have lost anyway. They recorded just five hits and didn't score until the eighth inning. But absent Cabrera's home run, which traveled well beyond the fence in right-center, starter Jeanmar Gomez might have exited after three innings feeling better about himself and not ashamed of his ERA.

As it was, the 25-year-old right-hander obtained from the Indians in the offseason carried an unsightly 16.62 ERA to the clubhouse. He surrendered three walks, three hits and all the Tigers' runs.

"The wind made a big difference on that ball, but I wanted to pitch better than I did," said Gomez, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation -- he hopes -- though the wind had little to do with the booming, run-scoring triple Jeff Kobernus hit in the first inning or the only three walks allowed by the Pirates in the game.

Gomez has given up eight runs -- all earned -- six hits and five walks to the 24 batters he's faced in two starts.

"I know I have to be better," he said. "I have to get my pitches down. They were down in the first inning, but they were up in the second and third. The pitch Cabrera hit ... I thought it was a fly ball to center. It went so far."

"We were happy to get him," manager Clint Hurdle said, "but we see some things that we need to help him with. We will."