Home striker Adam Le Fondre’s 16th goal of the season was the only bright spot of a disappointing first half.
Burton survived confident penalty appeals moments earlier when Paul Boertien appeared to block Adam Rundle’s shot with his arm. However, Boertien’s luck ran out in the 39th minute when he clearly handled a high cross and Le Fondre fired Rotherham in front from the spot.
Le Fondre almost added a second with a brilliant 25-yard lob over the keeper that hit the bar. He did, however, strike in the 63rd minute when he got in behind the defence to turn in Mark Lynch’s cross.
Burton hit back within two minutes as Aaron Webster slotted home a rebound after Andy Warrington had kept out Greg Pearson’s initial effort.
Rotherham suffered a further setback in the 72nd minute when Nick Fenton received a straight red card for a challenge on Webster. Burton capitalised with six minutes remaining as Pearson converted Webster’s cross after Rotherham had carelessly lost possession in their own half.