Brandon Cumpton catapulted from Triple-A anonymity to big league starter in a span of three days.
At the moment, he has no immediate plans to go back.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ rookie starter put together five-plus effective innings in his major league debut on Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and while the Pirates fell 5-3 in 11 innings they may have gained a bit of stability for their injury wracked pitching staff.
Filling in for ace A.J. Burnett and facing former Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Cumpton held his own.
“He gave us everything he had,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He did a very professional job.”
One probably good enough for the 24-year-old to fill in again when Burnett’s turn in the rotation comes around next week. That decision won’t be made for a few days, though Cumpton hardly appeared overcome by the stage. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced and got off the hook for the loss when Travis Snider homered off Los Angeles reliever Kenley Jansen in the ninth.
“I felt like once I got up there and threw strike one it kind of settled things down a little bit,” Cumpton said.
His effort didn’t go unnoticed. The Pirates, however, failed to provide the storybook ending. Pittsburgh left 13 runners on base, including five in extra innings.
Andre Ethier doubled off Vin Mazzaro (3-1) leading off the 11th then raced home when Uribe’s chopper went over the head of third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Nick Punto drove in Uribe with a double to the gap one batter later to provide some insurance.
Peter Moylan (1-0) picked up the win after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. Brandon League, who lost his job as the closer to Kenley Jansen this week, managed the final three outs for his 14th save.
“It was a little dejecting to see them score, but we quickly refocused,” Ethier said. “The one thing we didn’t want to try to do is swing for a home run to win the game. We just wanted to get on, get over and get in. We did a good job of executing there in the 11th inning.”
Kershaw scattered three hits over seven innings while lowering his ERA to a National League-leading 1.84.