McDonald goes for Pirates in Milwaukee

Righty James McDonald can make it three starts since his last loss on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Pirates return to Miller Park for the second test of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The California native fell to 1-2 on the season with a 10-6 loss against St. Louis on April 15, when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and was ripped for eight runs.

He's steadied in two outings since, allowing four runs on seven hits in 11 innings while beating Atlanta and getting a no-decision at Philadelphia.

The Pirates won that game, 6-4.

McDonald is 1-3 in nine career meetings with the Brewers and has an 8.17 earned run average in seven games at Miller Park.

Milwaukee replies with 29-year-old righty Marco Estrada, who tries to restart an unbeaten streak.

The product of Long Beach State was 2-0 with two no-decisions in his initial four starts of 2013 before dropping a hard-luck 2-1 verdict at San Diego in his last outing on April 24.

He pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed one earned run and struck out three batters in that game, which lowered his ERA from 4.50 to 3.86.

Estrada is 3-0 in eight lifetime meetings with Pittsburgh.

On Monday, Yovani Gallardo tossed seven innings and was one of four Milwaukee players to hit a solo home run as the Brewers outslugged the Pirates, 10-4.

Jean Segura had three hits, including a two-run blast, while Norichika Aoki, Carlos Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt each hit solo shots for the Brewers, who have won eight straight versus the Pirates.

Milwaukee also improved to 14-1 versus the Bucs when Gallardo (3-1) starts on the hill, while the righty has a 10-1 mark all-time in those outings. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- on just three hits and struck out five in the victory.

"My rhythm is slowly getting there," Gallardo said. "Tonight for the first few innings, I had to fight for it. I had to make an adjustment, then as the game went on I started to feel a lot better. My job is to put up zeros so they can get back up to the plate and score some more. That makes it just a matter of throwing strikes."

Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer and Gaby Sanchez and Andrew McCutchen each drove in one run for the Pirates, who were coming off a series win versus St. Louis.

Starter Wandy Rodriguez (2-1) struggled through 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and four walks to absorb the loss.

"When you don't make good pitches the ball is going to fly here," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "They've always had good hitters here. We were rough off the mound tonight. We couldn't get the ball where we wanted. We've been here before and not won, we've started the last four series like this and have bounced back."

The Brewers have won the season series in each of the last six years, including 11 of 15 games in 2012. The Pirates last won it in 2006, when they took nine of 16 games.