PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates rotation has more capable arms than in years past, but with a couple of them on the mend, Jeanmar Gomez has had an opportunity to get out of his mop-up bullpen role.
Pittsburgh acquired Gomez from Toronto in January after he spent the first three years of his big league career with the Indians. The Pirates made him a long reliever to begin 2013, and he surrendered only four runs in 13 2/3 innings during five appearances.
But Gomez has gotten the opportunity to start three games in the last few months, and cashed in on that chance.
"We're confident when he takes the mound, and he is as well," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Every time he's taken the ball, he's pitched a competitive game for us, whether it's been in long relief or the starts."
In his three starts, the first two of which he had little notice of, Gomez surrendered three earned runs in 14 innings while striking out 11 and walking five. In three of Gomez's appearances from the bullpen, he came in after a struggling Jonathan Sanchez exited, then made his first start on May 1 in place of Sanchez.
Gomez was 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA overall before Friday's game after going 14-16 with a 5.18 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in three years with Cleveland. in Friday's 5-4 win over the Astros, he allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.
"Sometimes guys just wake up and get it, and they didn't get it where they were," Hurdle said. "Maybe it's because you lost an opportunity somewhere else that reality has sunk in that you might need to make an adjustment that you need to make to find that next level of success."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.