The Milwaukee Brewers will try to make claim to a weekend three-game set versus the Pittsburgh Pirates when the squads meet up at Miller Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Brewers earned a 2-1 victory on Friday in a pitcher's duel. Marco Estrada (4-2) retired the first 14 batters he faced and finished by allowing just four hits and an earned run over seven innings while striking out eight in the win.
"He had great location today," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Estrada. "His fastball was live. He really located it well. He pitched up when he needed to. He had a good breaking ball and a good change-up and commanded all of his pitches."
Alex Gonzalez delivered a two-run double in the second inning, which proved to be all the run support Estrada and the rest of the Milwaukee pitching staff needed.
Closer Jim Henderson recorded the first two outs of the ninth inning before having to leave with an apparent hamstring injury. Francisco Rodriguez logged the game's final out for his first save of the season and 295th of his career.
"(Henderson) felt his hamstring grab on him," Roenicke said. "We'll reevaluate it tomorrow and see where we are. I don't think it's just going to be a day."
A.J. Burnett (3-5) was the hard-luck loser for the Pirates, yielding only three hits, two walks and two earned runs over seven innings. He also added six strikeouts, giving him an NL-leading 79 on the season.
"That was a heck of an outing from both guys," Burnett said. "You may beat me, but you will never out-compete me."
The Pirates' only run came on a Neil Walker RBI double in the seventh.
Getting the call for the Pirates on Saturday will be Jeff Locke, who, at 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA, has been a pleasant surprise in his third season.
Locke put forth one of his strongest outings of the year his last time out, pitching seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out four. The left-hander has now won four consecutive decisions, giving up just one earned run over the course of those victories (25 innings).
Mike Fiers will toe the rubber for the Brewers, replacing scheduled starter Kyle Lohse, who will have his spot in the rotation skipped as he rests a sore shoulder.
Fiers has made just one start this season, allowing six earned runs in five innings of work in an April 6 loss to Arizona. He's since made seven appearances out of the bullpen and owns a 1-2 record with a 5.93 ERA.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander has not found much success against the Pirates in his career, going 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA, although he has struck out 21 batters in 16 1/3 innings.
These clubs have split eight meetings so far this season.