Brewers 3, Pirates 1: Marco Estrada scattered three hits over seven dominating innings and added an RBI single in the fifth as visiting Milwaukee continued its push for the postseason by defeating Pittsburgh for the second straight night.
Norichika Aoki recorded his first career leadoff homer to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Fellow rookie Jean Segura collected two hits and scored twice as the Brewers posted their 22nd win in 28 outings to remain 2 1/2 games back of St. Louis in the race for the second wild-card spot. The Cardinals blanked the Houston Astros 5-0.
After Aoki's ninth blast staked him to an early advantage, Estrada (4-6) handcuffed the struggling Pirates en route to his fourth win in five decisions. Pitching for the first time since Sept. 11, the right-hander struck out four to drop his ERA to 3.56 while improving to 3-0 in his career versus Pittsburgh.
Estrada increased the advantage in the fifth after driving home Segura, who doubled to lead off the frame and advanced to third on a balk from rookie Kyle McPherson (0-1).
Andrew McCutchen homered to lead off the ninth against John Axford, who settled down to record the final three outs for his 30th save. Pittsburgh (74-74) fell back to .500 with its 14th loss in 18 contests to fall 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Milwaukee, which posted a 6-0 triumph in the series opener, has won its last six in a row and 10 of 14 meetings against Pittsburgh. ... After stealing seven bases on Tuesday, the Brewers were held to just one on Wednesday. ... Making his first career start, McPherson yielded two runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.