Rusch (1-1) bounced back from a rough outing in his first start of the season, when he was pounded for seven runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 7-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 2.
On Tuesday, the lefthander retired 12 in a row from the start of the third inning through the sixth. Rusch struck out seven and walked two en route to his first victory in 11 career starts against the Pirates (1-6).
"It's tough on the team as you continue to lose, you feel more pressure," Rusch said. "It's good anytime you beat anybody. Pittsburgh has always swung the bats good against me. ... I felt in direct command of my pitches."
Milwaukee had lost a franchise-record six straight games to start the season.
"It feels good to get a win," said Brewers manager
, who recorded his first major league victory. "Great for me and good for the guys in the locker room. Rusch was fantastic to the point (that) I almost thought about letting him go out in the eighth. He was at 107 pitches. This early in the year, you just want to protect the pitcher."
(0-1) did not help his cause, yielding a career-high seven walks. That was the most by a Pittsburgh starter since September 23, 2000, when
allowed seven at Milwaukee.
"The way the calls went, I let it frustrate me," Wells said. "It makes me want to do too much with the next pitch. There were some close ones that I needed, but wasn't throwing enough strikes. I never felt I was out of the game, just walking too many guys."
's three-run shot with two outs in the eighth sliced Pittsburgh's deficit to 5-3, but the Pirates lost their home opener for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
"(Wells) just didn't have his best stuff," said Kendall, the Pirates catcher. "He'll be back for his next start. We just didn't get it done. Kip's stuff was moving all over the place."
The bases were loaded with two outs in the second when Wells walked
to score the game's opening run.
singled home Helms and Rusch's sacrifice plated Podsednik to make it 4-0.
"We did some good things, got some timely hits," Clayton said. "We were able to get the pitch count up on Kip. We were patient enough to get the pitch count up. That's winning baseball when you get the starting pitcher out early."
The bases were loaded with one out in the sixth when Podsednik grounded to second, plating
tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save.