PITTSBURGH -- Elian Herrera sprinted home on Logan Schafer's sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 on Saturday night to tighten the race for the second National League wild-card spot.
The Brewers overcame the ejection of starting pitcher Matt Garza and pulled within 3 1/2 games of the Pirates, winning for just the second time in their last 13 road games. Pittsburgh had won five in a row.
Zach Duke (5-1), a former All-Star with the Pirates, picked up the victory after getting the final out of the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth for his 43rd save of the season and 347th of his career, moving him into a tie with Randy Myers for 10th on the all-time list.
The Pirates left 10 runners on base and went 0 for 8 with men in scoring position.
Pushed closer to elimination after leading the NL Central for most of the season, Milwaukee responded behind Garza.
The fiery veteran was dominant, at least as long as he stayed on the mound.
Garza was ejected with two outs in the fifth inning after plunking reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen for a second time.
Garza hit McCutchen on the left shoulder in the third then grazed McCutchen's elbow with the bases empty two innings later.
Garza, who came in having hit two batters in 158 innings on the season - gestured wildly when his fastball smacked McCutchen and took his time before heading to the dugout.
Considering the stakes and the situation, neither pitch appeared to be intentional. Still, they prematurely ended Garza's night and forced the Brewers to rely on an already taxed bullpen that had blown games on Thursday and Friday.
This time the relievers stood firm after letting late leads slip away. The Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but Starling Marte lined to third and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez grounded out to short against Duke.
Volquez lacked Garza's crispness early, needing 52 pitches to labor through the first three innings alone, but continued his remarkable bounce back season. The pitcher who went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA a year ago while pitching for San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers lowered his ERA to 3.15 by keeping the Brewers off the scoreboard before exiting in the seventh.
Volquez walked three, struck out six and benefited from a handful of defensive plays. The best came in the sixth when right fielder Travis Snider went into the gap in right-center to track down a lined shot by Aramis Ramirez, forcing Jonathan Lucroy to scamper back to first.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (16-10, 3.70 ERA) makes his 31st start of the season on Sunday. He is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates, all of the starts coming at Miller Park.
Pirates: RHP Vance Worley (7-4, 3.18 ERA) returns to the rotation after making a brief move to the bullpen when Charlie Morton was taken off the disabled list. Worley is 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA in four career starts against Milwaukee. He gave up four runs on 12 hits in a 4-3 loss to Milwaukee on Aug. 24.