Coming off an outing in which he hardly deserved his first loss, Estrada tries to continue his mastery of the Pirates and lift the Brewers to a ninth consecutive victory in this NL Central series Tuesday night at Miller Park.
With Milwaukee (13-11) seeking its first 10-game win streak in a decade, Estrada (2-1, 3.86 ERA) was given no runs of support for the second time in three starts Wednesday. He gave up two runs - one earned - and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-1 loss at San Diego.
“It was probably the best I’ve felt all year,” he told the Brewers’ official website. “I thought I located pretty well. But, obviously, one pitch got away from me.”
That one pitch ended up out of the park as Carlos Quentin’s solo shot was the seventh homer allowed by Estrada. That’s four more than any other Brewers starter.
Estrada, though, is 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA in eight games - five starts - versus the Central-leading Pirates. He has 40 strikeouts and three walks in 37 2-3 innings against them.
Pittsburgh (15-11) entered this series having won five of seven on a 10-game trip but would tie a season high for runs allowed Monday in a 10-4 loss, dropping its fifth straight at Miller Park.
The Brewers are 45-7 there against the Pirates since the start of 2007, the best home record by any team against a division opponent during that stretch.
“They play well here,” said manager Clint Hurdle, whose Pirates have given up 59 runs during their eight-game losing streak to Milwaukee. “You’ve got to do some things different than we did tonight to slow down the offense. We didn’t.”
The Brewers have won seven straight home games overall, and Pittsburgh scheduled starter James McDonald (2-2, 4.38) is 1-3 with an 8.75 ERA in five starts versus Milwaukee - all at Miller Park.
In his last start there, McDonald gave up a career-high four homers in a 12-8 loss Sept. 2. That was also the last time Milwaukee hit five out of the park prior to Monday, when Norichika Aoki Jean Segura Carlos Gomez Yuniesky Betancourt and starter Yovani Gallardo all went deep as the Brewers had 13 hits - their most in three weeks.
They were held to four hits Sunday in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We turned the page today,” said Segura, who also had one of Milwaukee’s three triples.
McDonald appears to have done that, stringing together a couple of nice starts since getting tagged for eight runs - three earned - in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-6 loss to St. Louis two weeks ago.
“The stuff, for the most part, was crisp, it was on,” Hurdle told the Pirates’ official website after McDonald yielded three runs in Thursday’s 6-4 win at Philadelphia. “So to speak to the point, he seems to be making progress.”
The Pirates would like to see that from Andrew McCutchen whose batting average sits at .217 after finishing third in the majors last year at .327. However, he singled and had an RBI groundout Monday, giving the two-time All-Star a .432 average with four homers and 11 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak at Miller Park.
Gomez is batting a team-best .524 with three homers during the Brewers’ home win streak.