MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU-TSN) -- Jonathan Lucroy went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two driven in while Marco Estrada threw six innings of one-run ball as the Milwaukee Brewers slipped past the Pirates, 5-2, at Miller Park.
Estrada (3-1) struck out eight and scattered six hits and two walks in his sixth quality start of the season for Milwaukee, which has won three straight on the heels of a 1-5 stretch.
Gerrit Cole (3-3) was touched for three runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings for the Pirates, who were coming off a successful 6-3 homestand.
Cole and Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez nearly came to blows the last time these teams met, but there were no noteworthy arguments in the opener of this three-game NL Central series.
Neil Walker's solo homer to deep left-center in the first inning staked the Pirates to an early lead, but it was the only costly mistake made by Estrada.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the home third, Lucroy singled in front of Josh Harrison in right field, and Logan Schafer and Gomez came around as the tying and go-ahead runs.
Harrison did not make a good read on Lucroy's humpback liner, and another minor miscue in the field led a Milwaukee run in the sixth as Jordy Mercer bobbled the transfer of Rickie Weeks' dribbler up the middle, allowing Jean Segura to score.
The Brewers added two more off reliever Jared Hughes in the seventh courtesy of Mark Reynolds' sacrifice fly and Segura's RBI single, and Will Smith snuffed out a Pirates rally in the eighth.
After Gaby Sanchez's pinch-hit, run-scoring double put runners on second and third with two outs, Smith induced a harmless groundout off the bat of Mercer to keep it a 5-2 game.
Francisco Rodriguez retired the side in order in the ninth to post his 16th save of the season.
The Brewers are 7-1 against Pittsburgh this season ... Estrada came in 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 career games (9 starts) against the Pirates ... Milwaukee welcomed back Ryan Braun from the disabled list, but the slugger went 0-for-2 with a walk and was replaced in left field by Khris Davis in the seventh ... Gomez left the game with lower back tightness ... With his 320th career save, Rodriguez moved past Todd Jones for sole possession of 16th place on the all-time MLB saves list.