Pirates, Brewers battle for series victory

Wandy Rodriguez will attempt at his fourth consecutive victory for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Since losing back-to-back starts on April 29 and May 5, Rodriguez has responded with three straight triumphs to improve to 5-2 on the season.

Rodriguez allowed three earned runs over six innings of work in his latest outing on May 21, which actually raised his ERA to 3.40, but it was enough to earn the victory over the Cubs.

Despite the left-hander's success this season, he endured his worst start of the season versus the Brewers in late April, allowing six hits, four walks and seven earned runs while failing to make it out of the fourth inning.

For Milwaukee, Yovani Gallardo gets the call and is trending in the exact opposite direction, having lost three straight starts to drop to 3-4 with a 4.50 ERA.

Gallardo pitched well in his last start, allowing three earned runs and striking out seven in six innings of work, but he was saddled with the defeat as his team dropped a 3-1 decision to the Dodgers on May 20.

Luckily for Gallardo, he has fared very well against the Pirates during his seven-year career, boasting a 10-3 record with a 2.52 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 100 innings.

On Saturday afternoon, the Pirates took down the Brewers, 5-2, in a game dominated by the long ball.

All seven runs in the contest came via the home run, with Pedro Alvarez belting two for Pittsburgh in the winning effort. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker also reached the seats for the visitors.

Capturing the victory was Jeff Locke (5-1), who tossed six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. When Locke has been on this season, he's been outstanding, as he's allowed a mere one earned run over the course of his five victories (31 innings).

"You're seeing him grow up before your eyes," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "To be able to maneuver through that lineup without his best stuff is something. He is getting a little better everyday. This has to be a big boost to his confidence."

Mike Fiers (1-3) was handed the loss for the Brewers, yielding four earned runs over four innings of work.

Carlos Gomez was 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs, and he continues to be among the league leaders in hitting at .331.

Despite beating the Brewers five out of a nine times so far this season, the Pirates have not fared well at Miller Park in recent years, going just 9-47 in Milwaukee since 2007.