Pittsburgh ace A.J. Burnett tries to end a three-start skid on Friday night when the Pirates open a three-game series at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Burnett was 3-2 on the season following a 3-1 defeat of the Washington Nationals on May 3, but has subsequently gone 0-2 in three starts - while the Pirates have been outscored, 11-4.
He gave up two runs on two hits in a 2-1 loss to Seattle on May 8, then allowed three earned run in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to Milwaukee five days later.
That loss dropped Burnett to 2-5 in 10 career starts against the Brewers, who've connected for 40 runs on 63 hits in 64 2/3 innings.
In one subsequent start, the 36-year-old allowed a single run on five hits in seven innings of the Pirates' 4-2 loss to Houston.
Milwaukee goes with Mexican-born righty Marco Estrada, who defeated Burnett and the Pirates in the aforementioned May 13 outing.
The 29-year-old allowed three hits and a run in seven innings of that victory, which lifted him to 4-0 in 10 career meetings with the Pirates and dropped his ERA against them to 2.17.
He also faced Pittsburgh on April 30 and got a no-decision in Milwaukee's 12-8 victory after giving up five runs on seven hits in five innings.
Estrada is 1-1 in four home starts in 2013.
On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Andrew McCutchen had three hits, knocked in two runs and swiped two bags as the Pirates finished off a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a 4-2 victory at PNC Park.
The Pirates, winners of four straight and 11 of their last 13 overall, pounced on Edwin Jackson (1-7) in the first two innings before a 1-hour, 47-minute rain delay suspended the contest in the fourth.
Starling Marte collected a pair of hits, scored twice and stole a base while Vin Mazzaro (3-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Jeanmar Gomez to pick up the win.
Travis Snider and Michael McKenry each knocked in a run and Jason Grilli shut the door in the ninth by converting his 19th straight save opportunity.
"We're playing solid baseball right now, finding ways to get it done," said Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes.
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee on Wednesday, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke both went 2-for-4 with two RBI as the Los Angeles Dodgers downed the Brewers, 9-2, to take the rubber match of a three-game series at Miller Park.
The Dodgers reached the Brewers' bullpen quick as starter Wily Peralta (3-5) had his worst outing of his young career. He gave up six runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over just 1 2/3 innings.
"He left some balls up, some balls were not hit that well but they got between our infielders," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "Today he didn't have the chance to get out of the second inning, It's hard when you get down right away."
Norichika Aoki finished with two hits and a run scored for the Brewers, who haven't won a series dating back to late April against the Pirates.
"We haven't been playing good baseball, in fact it's been pretty terrible," said Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.
The Pirates are 4-3 in seven games against the Brewers thus far in 2013, including three of four games at home in mid-May.