Pittsburgh, PA – Neil Walker drove in a pair and Wandy Rodriguez spun seven innings of one-run ball in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the third test of a four-game set from PNC Park.
Walker had one of just four Pirates hits, but his two-run single off Yovani Gallardo (3-3) was all the offense Pittsburgh needed to capture its fifth win in six games and second straight over Milwaukee.
Rodriguez (4-2) struck out five and his only real blemish came when he served up a home run to Rickie Weeks. He allowed just six hits and Jason Grilli locked down his 16th save of the season with a perfect ninth.
"He battled from start to finish," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Rodriguez. "The only tarnish mark was the first pitch changeup to Weeks. It's the start we needed. He pitched a little bit better than their guy."
Milwaukee has just two wins in the month of May, dropping 11 of 13 contests. Gallardo struck out five and was charged with two runs on three hits and four walks in six innings.
Gallardo scattered just a single and two walks over his first five innings of work and had retired seven in a row before giving up a leadoff double to Starling Marte in the sixth.
Things spiraled from there, as Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez both reached with one out walks to load the bases. Walker then lined a base hit into center to plate Marte and McCutchen to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.
Weeks got a run back for Milwaukee in the top of the seventh with a one-out homer to left field, but Pittsburgh countered with a score in the eighth thanks to some nifty base running.
McCutchen ripped a hard grounder back to reliever Burke Badenhop and reached on a fielder's choice when Travis Snider got caught in a rundown between second and third.
While trying to get Snider out, McCutchen moved to second and stole third on a Sanchez walk. He then came around to score when Weeks made a diving stop, but made a wide throw to first on Walker's sharp grounder.
The Brewers had a hit in each of the first five innings, but had nothing to show for it. Their best chance came in the fourth when Jonathan Lucroy laced a triple to lead off the frame, but Rodriguez set the next three batters down in order to come away unscathed.
"When Wandy got in trouble, we didn't do the job offensively," Milwaukee outfielder Carlos Gomez said. "He gave the break where we can change the game, and we didn't do it."
Mark Melancon replaced Rodriguez to start the eighth and needed just 14 pitches to get through the inning before Grilli worked a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the victory.
Gallardo had won 10 of 12 decisions in 16 career meetings against the Pirates coming in ... The Pirates improved to 6-2 in games in which Rodriguez starts ... Pittsburgh placed infielder John McDonald on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and recalled infielder Jordy Mercer from Triple-A Indianapolis. Mercer got the start at short and went 1-for-2.