The Pirates and Brewers got through nine innings Tuesday without throwing any punches, which did not surprise the managers one bit.
It was the teams' first meeting since they exchanged blows at PNC Park on Easter Sunday, and both Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle and Milwaukee's Ron Roenicke indicated before the game they expected business as usual this week at Miller Park.
"With the way we've usually played against them, [games] are heated anyway," Roenicke said. "They're a good team, we feel we're a good team, so the head-to-head matchups are always intense. Certainly, with the year they had last year and the year they would like to have again this year, they're going to be competitive.
"When one thing happens, I'm not too concerned about it. I know our guys have been fine; I think theirs will be, too."
Hurdle expressed a similar sentiment.
"I just worry about making sure my team is where it needs to be," he said. "I'm not good enough to manage two teams. I'm not good enough to get outside my box and say how other players should play. I know the way I want us to go about our play, to go out and fear nothing and respect everything."
The series continues Wednesday with Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano working opposite Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta, neither of whom appeared in the clubs' previous series in Pittsburgh. They squared off on April 11 at Miller Park, with Peralta pitching seven innings to beat Liriano and the Pirates, 4-2.
Including that game, Peralta is 11-9 with a 2.78 ERA in his last 24 starts dating to last season. He has made six consecutive quality starts.
The Pirates, meanwhile, have won each of Liriano's last four starts.
Pirates: Nearing decision time on Marte
Starling Marte missed his second full game with back stiffness Tuesday, and though no official timetable was announced for his return, it seemed the decision on his status would have to come by Thursday, when the Pirates were prepared to activate starter Wandy Rodriguez from the 15-day disabled list.
Carrying only 11 pitchers entering the series, the team's best option for a corresponding roster move would be either to put Marte on the disabled list or return recently recalled outfielder Jaff Decker to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Reliever Jason Grilli, working his way back from an oblique strain, was slated to throw a simulated game Wednesday, with a discussion to follow about whether or not to send him on a rehab assignment.
"We haven't had a real-time discussion about that yet," Hurdle said.
Brewers: Weeks stays red hot
With a run-scoring infield single in the sixth inning Tuesday, Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks has 12 hits and two walks in his last 20 at-bats, and hits in each of his last four pinch-hit at-bats. Because the Pirates started right-hander Gerrit Cole, left-handed hitter Scooter Gennett got the start at second base on Tuesday, but Weeks will get the nod Wednesday against Liriano and Thursday against Rodriguez.
With both Gennett and Weeks hitting at a high level, the Brewers are getting a lot from their platoon at second base at the moment.
"It makes it harder because Rickie is so hot now," Roenicke said. "The schedule, the way it worked out with this group [of games], it's not so hard. A right-hander, then two lefties [for the Pirates on Wednesday and Thursday]. But when we get in a stretch where we're seven, eight right-handers in a row, then it becomes difficult because of the way Rickie is swinging, and we need the offense."
• The Brewers fell to 3-3 in challenges Tuesday when the umpires upheld Lyle Overbay's seventh-inning groundout.
• The Pirates fell to 12-18 against fellow National League Central teams, and are 1-7 this season against the Brewers.
• In his last four games, Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker is 6-for-16 with two home runs.
• Brewers starting pitchers lead the Majors with 29 quality starts, including Marco Estrada's outing on Tuesday night.