The Brewers are still looking for their first win on an important 10-game road trip that covers three division rivals. After a discouraging series in Cincinnati, they'll try their hand in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates and Brewers open a four-game series on Monday at PNC Park with both teams jockeying for position in the contentious National League Central. It's the second meeting of the season for the two teams. The Brewers won two of three from April 29-May 1 in Milwaukee, outscoring the Pirates, 26-18.
Milwaukee is 5-9 on the road this season, going 1-3-1 in series play, and having lost four consecutive ballgames away from home. They've lost their last eight overall against NL Central opponents.
The Pirates are looking to turn it around after losing four of five last week. Since then, they've won three in a row. Overall, Pittsburgh has won 18 of its last 28.
Pittsburgh has been getting some help from the long ball in its last 14 games. The Pirates have homered in 13 of those games, and have hit 41 dingers since April 7.
It'll be Marco Estrada on the mound for the Brewers as he looks to improve on his 2-2 record and lower his 6.05 ERA. The Brewers bumped the right-hander two days to allow for an extra bullpen session between starts after he said he felt "lost" while walking five Cardinals in his last outing on May 5.
He had his extra bullpen session alongside pitching coach Rick Kranitz, and took the extra time to clear his mind of the frustration of that last outing. He said it was the worst he's felt on the mound, but is since more confident.
"I feel a million times better," Estrada said. "I know those things are going to happen, but I didn't like how the mental aspect of it was lost. Normally, I feel like I have pretty good control over that. I didn't have it that day, but I've worked on it. Mentally, right now, I'm pretty strong."
He'll be looking to figure it out against Pirates veteran A.J. Burnett, who has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since April 12. He scattered two hits and two runs over seven innings against the Mariners his last time out, striking out nine.
"[A.J.] was a grown man out there doing some good work," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Brewers: Aoki on a roll
• Outfielder Norichika Aoki has hit safely in seven of his last nine games, going 14-for-35 (.400) with a homer and two RBIs.
In that time, he's raised his batting average from .247 to .288.
• Ryan Braun, with hits in 12 of his last 13 games, may have the day off Monday to help with his ailing neck and back. Braun gets treatment regularly but has said he's no more banged up than everybody else.
Over his last 13 games, Braun has gone 19-for-51 (.373) with a home run and five RBIs.
Braun is two homers away from tying Geoff Jenkins (212) for third all-time on the Brewers franchise home run list.
Pirates: Clean 'em up
• The No. 4 spot in the Pirates' order -- filled at times by Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez -- has hit .309 (42-for-136) with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 31 RBIs.
The three aforementioned players who have started in that spot have combined to hit safely in 29 of the first 37 games.
• Over his last nine games, Jose Tabata is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with two home runs and four RBIs. He hit a total of three home runs all last year.
• The Pirates have won a season-high three games on four occasions, but have never won four straight.
• The Brewers are 71-25 against the Pirates since the start of 2007.
• The Pirates are returning home to play a 10-game homestand and are scheduled to play 18 of their 28 May games at home. They've gone 9-6 at PNC Park this year.
• The Brewers recalled right-hander Mike Fiers from Class A Brevard County before Sunday's game, and placed left-hander Tom Gorzelanny on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis (retroactive to May 8).
Fiers allowed one earned run (a Xavier Paul home run) in two innings Sunday.
Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.