It was less than a month ago that the Pirates were atop the National League Central as one of the biggest surprises in baseball.
Now they aren't even above .500.
A victory over the Braves on July 25 kept the Pirates in a virtual tie with the Cardinals for first place, but Pittsburgh has posted just a 3-14 record since to fall 11 games behind first-place Milwaukee after dropping last night's opener, 7-2.
Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun both homered for the Brewers, who have won 14 of their last 16 overall and improved to 34-3 in their past 37 games at home. That has them four games ahead of the second-place Cardinals in the standings.
Zack Greinke didn't waste the support, holding the Pirates to a pair of runs on six hits, walking only one and striking out nine over 7 2/3 innings.
"That's probably as good as I've seen him. His location was outstanding, and his fastball was going in and out of the zone," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said about Greinke.
Paul Maholm lasted five innings in the loss, getting charged with four runs, one of them unearned. Michael McKenry had two hits, drove in a run and scored once for the Pirates, who have lost all six of their meetings with the Brewers this year and are 5-19 in this series since the beginning of last season.
"We're well aware of how well they hit at home," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "It was a good push back by us, but before you knew it they got a lot of separation."
Pittsburgh is currently six games under .500 at home, but 30-29 as the road team this year. It hopes that fact can help Kevin Correia get on track as he is 10-2 with a 2.74 earned run average in 13 games on the road this year but currently in the midst of a brutal six-start stretch.
Correia is 1-4 with an 8.89 ERA over his past six outings, with four of those taking place at home. He has given up 24 earned runs in Pittsburgh over that time, including 12 in back-to-back losses. Eight of those came over just two innings versus the Cubs on Aug. 2 and the 30-year-old was touched for another four runs on five hits and four walks five days later in a defeat to the Padres.
He has fallen to 12-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 25 games this season, which includes a pair of setbacks to the Brewers. Correia has allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings against them this year, giving up homers to Braun, Fielder and Casey McGehee. Braun has done especially well versus him in 2011, posting three hits and four RBI in five at-bats.
Estrada was tagged for seven runs over 5 1/3 innings on that day in Atlanta and will make his 33rd appearance of the season and fifth start. He is 2-7 with a 4.80 ERA and will be supported by Frankie De La Cruz, who was called up from Triple-A Nashville to take Narveson's place on the roster and serve as the long man out of the bullpen.
"[Estrada] pitched so well in the starting role in the beginning of the season that we thought we ought to go with him," Roenicke told Milwaukee's website. "Whether [he goes] four innings, it doesn't matter that much, with having De La Cruz here now we can cover the innings."
The 28-year-old Estrada has faced the Pirates twice in his career, both in a relief role, and has held them scoreless over four innings with five strikeouts.