Pirates-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

No matter how poorly the Milwaukee Brewers have played this month, they continue to fare well against the Pittsburgh Pirates at home.

Looking to win consecutive games for the first time in May, the Brewers hope to continue that home success against the Pirates on Saturday.

Milwaukee (19-27) is 5-16 in May and has not won back-to-back contests since April 29-30 at home against Pittsburgh. However, with Friday's 2-1 victory, the Brewers have won three of four against the Pirates at Miller Park this season and seven of the last eight there.

Since the start of the 2007 season, Milwaukee is 47-8 versus Pittsburgh (29-19) at home.

Alex Gonzalez had a two-run double in the second and Marco Estrada pitched seven strong innings to help the Brewers snap the Pirates' four-game winning streak.

"That was big. It was a good pitch and Alex went down and got it. It was smart hitting,'' Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "We certainly needed to get a lead and with the way Marco pitched we held on.''

The loss was the third in 14 games for Pittsburgh, which hopes Jeff Locke (4-1, 2.73 ERA) can help it bounce back and continue his recent success.

After he went 1-1 with a 5.17 ERA in his first three starts, Locke is 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA in the last six. He allowed three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win over Houston on Sunday.

Manager Clint Hurdle was pleased with the left-hander's latest effort even though both believe he did not have his best stuff.

"'Pitched' is the imperative word,'' Hurdle said. "He was behind a number of counts, his first-pitch strikes were below 50 percent ... but, that being said, he didn't give up anything. He was able to put a foot down, get balls on the ground when we needed them.''

Locke is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts versus Milwaukee while surrendering four homers in 10 innings. He allowed three runs over six in a 4-3, 12-inning win May 14.

The Brewers counter with Mike Fiers (1-2, 5.93), who makes his second start of the season while Kyle Lohse continues to deal with elbow irritation.

With a demotion to the minors included, the right-hander's last seven appearances came out of the bullpen after he allowed six runs in five innings of a 9-2 loss to Arizona on April 6. He earned the victory after 1 2-3 scoreless innings in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"The deeper I go, the better it is for the baseball team," Fiers told the Brewers' official website.

He went 9-10 with a 3.77 ERA over 22 starts in his first full major league season in 2012, including 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA in three against the Pirates. Fiers allowed the game-winning homer to Andrew McCutchen in the extra-inning loss at Pittsburgh last week.

McCutchen, 5 for 9 with three homers against Fiers, is batting .433 (13 for 30) in the last seven games. Despite his team's poor history at Miller Park, McCutchen has batted .420 in 12 games there since hitting .226 in his first 20 in Milwaukee.

Brewers star Ryan Braun hit .440 in his first six games against the Pirates this season before he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Friday.

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