Pirates right-hander Jeanmar Gomez delivers Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Starter: Jeanmar Gomez -- 21/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Hitter: Starling Marte singled to lead off the game and went 2 for 3 with a strikeout.
Of note: With the exception of Marte, the Pirates were hitless Thursday against Rays left-hander Matt Moore through three innings. Neil Walker drew a second-inning walk off Moore, and Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez drew fourth-inning walks before Moore was relieved with one out.
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Long reliever Gomez made his first start of spring and pitched two scoreless innings before giving up four runs on five hits in the third.
"For me, [it was] just the second time through the lineup ... I used a lot of my fastball. I pounded the zone, but you need to work off-speed the second time through the lineup," he said.
Gomez said despite leaving a few fastballs up in the zone, he felt really good in his outing. Gomez got two double-play grounders and a third groundout through two innings.
He also said he drew no conclusions from getting the start and expects to be relied on as a long reliever who is capable of making spot starts again this season.
"I think same as last year, a long reliever-type. Throw a lot of innings if the starting pitching goes bad, try to get more innings to save the bullpen," he said.
Gomez had pitched six shutout innings in three previous appearances this spring but the time had come for him to be stretched out.
"He's been lights-out," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was about getting his pitch count up and the ball got elevated on him in the third inning. When you're a groundball pitcher some balls are going to find the outfield grass. In the third inning the ball was up and consistently up."
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