Pirates stay hot with edging of Brewers

Starling Marte drove in the eventual deciding run in the sixth inning and Jordy Mercer had three hits, including an RBI triple, as the Pittsburgh Pirates held on for a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a three-game series at Miller Park.

Pedro Alvarez had a two-run double and Garrett Jones added an RBI for the Pirates, who won for the 10th time in 12 games.

"We're getting a little bit better," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We got on top and we stayed on top. Good way to finish this series, and to win this series."

Wandy Rodriguez (6-2) tossed five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits to go along with four strikeouts to win four straight starts for the first time since July of 2009.

"He didn't have his best stuff and we made it a little bit tougher on ourselves than we needed to, but we got it done," Hurdle added of Rodriguez.

Ryan Braun hit a three-run double and Carlos Gomez drove in one run to account for Milwaukee's offense. Starter Yovani Gallardo (3-5) gave up four runs on five hits and fanned seven over four frames in the setback, the first in 10 career home starts for the right-hander versus the Pirates.

"His stuff was good," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Gallardo. "I thought he was down in the zone with it. It surprises me that he had good stuff but was in trouble getting through four innings like that."

Pittsburgh made it a 1-0 game in the second inning thanks to Mercer's run- scoring triple. The righty batter ripped a line drive just past the shortstop that reached the outfield wall, and was aided by Carlos Gomez's bobble in center, easily scoring Michael McKenry.

"I knew I hit it good and I just kept running until they told me to stop," Mercer said. "To come out of here with two our of three is special because we haven't played well here. It was fun today, we had some key hits."

The Pirates added to their lead with three runs in the third. Marte and Neil Walker reached base with a double and a hit by pitch, respectively, before Andrew McCutchen's fielder's choice to third put runners on the corners. Jones followed with sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Gallardo's struggles continued. He issued a walk to Gaby Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez, who homered twice in Saturday's 5-2 win, smacked a two-run double into the right-field corner to make it 4-0 Pittsburgh.

The Brewers finally figured out Rodriguez in the fifth. After issuing an opening single to Rickie Weeks, the lefty got two quick outs. The next two batters, though, kept the inning alive. Norichika Aoki ripped a single up the middle and Jean Segura reached on an infield single to load the bases.

Braun then came through and brought all the runners home with a double just over third base down the left-field line, bringing the Brewers within one, 4-3.

Marte added some breathing room for the Pirates in the sixth with a one-out sacrifice fly to center, scoring McKenry, who doubled to lead off the frame and moved to third on Mercer's base hit, for a 5-3 lead.

Milwaukee made things interesting in the eighth with Pirates reliever Mark Melancon on the hill. Jeff Bianchi smacked a rare triple down the first-base line, as it hit off a corner before heading into the outfield. Gomez brought him home with a warning track sacrifice fly that made it 5-4.

Jason Grilli, however, shut down the Brewers in the ninth, pitching a scoreless frame for his major league-leading 20th save of the season.

"It's baseball," Rodriguez said. "Things happen. I have a lot of confidence in him (Grilli) doing his job."

Game Notes

Milwaukee fell to 4-17 versus left-handed starters this season ... The Pirates are now 8-2 in Rodriguez's 10 starts this season ... The Pirates have not allowed more than four runs in 12 straight games. The club record is 15 straight games without allowing four runs, occurring in 2005 ... Rodriguez last won four straight starts with Houston from July 2-12, 2009 ... The Brewers selected the contract of pitcher Donovan Hand from Triple-A Nashville Sunday to fill the spot of Jim Henderson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a right hamstring strain. The team also transferred pitcher Mark Rogers from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.