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Pirates eye sweep of Cubs

Jeanmar Gomez tries to pitch the Pittsburgh Pirates to a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs Thursday when the National League Central foes close their set from PNC Park.

Gomez, who is 2-0 with a 2.78 ERA on the year, did not get a decision on Friday against Houston, as he allowed four runs (3 earned) and five hits in 4 2/3 innings of his team's 5-4 win.

Since joining the rotation, Gomez is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA across 18 2/3 innings. However, he has yet to top five innings in any of his five starts.

"We've got a guy who we've penciled in to fifth place in Jeanmar Gomez who's done a very professional job," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We'll see what happens."

Pittsburgh won its third straight game on Wednesday, as Francisco Liriano pitched seven scoreless innings in the Pirates' 1-0 win.

Liriano (3-0) had nine strikeouts and allowed just two hits and a walk in his outing. He has given up only two runs over 18 innings this season for the Bucs, who have won seven of eight.

Mark Melancon allowed runners on first and second in the ninth, but escaped trouble to notch his first save of the season.

Garrett Jones drove in the lone run of the game, a two-out single off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (2-6) in the first inning that scored Andrew McCutchen.

"We're going to just fight, we're going to do what we can," said McCutchen. He's (Samardzija) done pretty well against us. It was good to get the one run in the first inning and go from there."

Samardzija fanned eight and gave up three hits and a walk over seven frames. However, the lack of offense prevented him from getting the win.

"Once again, we just seem to waste these starting outings," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "It's just unbelievable how these kind of things happen, to have this kind of starting pitching and just can't score any runs."

Chicago, which has lost three in a row and four of five, will turn to righty Edwin Jackson, who is 1-6 with a 5.76 ERA. Jackson lost to the New York Mets on Friday, as he allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"I've been feeling pretty good mechanically," Jackson said. "I've been able to go out and get in a rhythm early."

Jackson lost to the Pirates in his first start of the year, but is 4-1 in seven starts against them with a 3.09 ERA.

Pittsburgh has won three of its five matchups with the Cubs this season.