Brewers try to avoid PNC sweep

( - Matt Garza's final start of the 2014 season came at PNC Park, the stadium in which the Brewers will try to avoid a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Milwaukee has lost four in a row and has scored three runs or less in five of its last six games (1-5). That one victory came when Garza started and allowed two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-4 triumph at St. Louis Monday.

On September 20 last season, Garza tossed 4 2/3 shutout innings in a 1-0 Milwaukee win, although Garza didn't get a decision. He's 2-2 with a 3.92 ERA in eight games when facing the Pirates.

Gerrit Cole, who counters for Pittsburgh, is coming off a 5-4 win in the home opener Monday against Detroit. Cole sparkled through much of his six-plus innings. He had eight strikeouts in his second start of the season and cruised through the high-powered Tigers offense until he was pulled with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh. The former No. 1 overall draft pick yielded one run on three hits and two walks.

He's won five consecutive decisions going back to last season.

Cole is 1-2 with a 3.27 ERA in five career starts against the Brewers.

On Saturday, Starling Marte hit a three-run home run and drove in five runs as the Pirates took a 6-2 win.

Marte's big night was coupled with a dominating performance from Jeff Locke (2-0), who allowed just one run and four hits while striking out six in eight innings. The Pirates have taken the first two of this set.

"Fastball command was good. He used the glove side. He mixed in the curveball extremely well. Each pitch fed off the other pitch. Great rhythm and tempo throughout the game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Locke.

Jonathan Lucroy and Khris Davis each drove in a run for the Brewers, who have dropped their last four games. Kyle Lohse (0-3) was roughed up for six runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts over six innings.

"We got a long ways to go. This thing is going to turn. It's certainly a better team than this," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

Milwaukee was 12-7 versus the Pirates last season, despite being outscored by the Bucs, 81-66.