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Tuesday: Getting back on track
We're talking about an offensive breakout and more in today's roundup of all things Brewers.
 
Some things to read while finding a new nest.

The Milwaukee Brewers returned home and broke out the big bats on Monday, connecting for three home runs en route to an 8-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Noah Jarosh of Brew Crew Ball has the recap, if you missed it. 

Carlos Gomez got the Brewers off to a strong start last night, hitting a home run on the first pitch from Diamondbacks rookie Mike Bolsinger. It was the third time this season he's led off a game with a home run (h/t @MikeVassallo13), and this mark may be in reach for him: The 2011 Brewers set a franchise record by leading off a game with a home run nine times. Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks split leadoff duties that season.

The top and bottom of the Brewers lineup were the story last night, as Gomez, Jean Segura and Martin Maldonado batted 1, 2 and 8 and were on base a combined 10 times, including one home run apiece. Their performance covered for some ongoing struggles from the middle of the lineup, and Adam McCalvy talked to Ron Roenicke about those challenges.

Gomez, Segura and Maldonado combined to earn a win for Matt Garza, who pitched through some early struggles to complete six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. The Brewers continue to lead all MLB teams with 26 quality starts (six innings or more, three earned runs or less) on the season (h/t @MikeVassallo13).

Mark your calendar to meet Brewers All Star and Gold Glove winner Carlos Gomez at Legends of the Field's Greenfield location on Saturday, May 10, from 11-11:45 a.m. Click here for more information on this and other upcoming events.
 
Other notes from the field:
  • Before Monday's game, the Brewers had scored five runs or less in 14 consecutive games. That was tied for the second-longest such streak in all of baseball this season. They also hadn't let by five or more runs at any point in any game since April 9 (h/t @joe_block).
  • They still, however, haven't scored 10 or more runs in a home game since beating the Pirates 12-8 on April 30 of 2013 (h/t @JaymesL).
  • With the win, the Brewers improved to 18-0 when scoring four runs or more.
  • Will Smith struck out the side in the seventh inning and has recorded 22 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings this season (h/t @Haudricourt).
  • Carlos Gomez drew three walks last night for just the second time in his career (h/t @joe_block).
  • Ron Roenicke won his third replay challenge of the season in the fourth inning when umpires reviewed and reversed a call after Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Bolsinger was ruled safe at first base on what would have been an infield hit. Reviewing and reversing the call took just 39 seconds.
  • The Chorizo won the Sausage Race.
The series continues at Miller Park tonight when Marco Estrada takes on Josh Collmenter at 7:10 p.m., and Adam McCalvy has the MLB.com preview. Before Monday's game, Nicholas Zettel of Disciples of Uecker looked at this week's pitching matchups and asked if this is the Brewers' first must-win series of 2014.

The Brewers won't be seeing Arizona reliever J.J. Putz this week. After last night's game, he was placed on the disabled list with forearm tightness and replaced on the roster by reliever Evan Marshall (h/t @joe_block). Marshall has a 0.54 ERA over 14 appearances for Triple-A Reno this season and is striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings.

Looking further ahead, yesterday we mentioned that Carlos Gomez's appeal of his three-game suspension is expected to be heard on Friday. I had previously been under the impression that a final decision would be made at that hearing, but apparently that's not the case: Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy there's likely to be a lag of several days while a written report is finalized and passed through the proper channels.

Martin Maldonado had a nice game Monday, going 2-for-3 with a walk, double and two-run home run to raise his 2014 batting line to .350/.500/.600 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging) in eight appearances, and picked up his 100th career hit (h/t @JaymesL). A few days later, however, some of us are still talking about his pitching appearance from Wednesday. Adam Wieser of Disciplies of Uecker has a look at Maldonado and the other position players who have taken the mound for the Brewers.

Rickie Weeks drew a walk as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning Monday night, advanced on a wild pitch and came around to score on Carlos Gomez's RBI single as the Brewers blew the game open. Weeks has been relegated to infrequent playing time at best recently but has reached base in seven of his last 11 plate appearances, and Keep Turning Up The Heat! says he needs to take the starting job back at second base. Ryan Topp of Disciples of Uecker also suggests second base as one of the positions where the Brewers can improve offensively, but he suggests doing so by replacing Weeks with a better platoon partner for Scooter Gennett.

The Brewers are 4-5 in their last nine games but still enter play today with baseball's best record at 22-11, and remain five games better than the Cardinals in the NL Central. Excitement about a possible playoff run for this team has increased dramatically over the last month, and Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a look at how the Brewers (and Pirates) have dramatically altered their 2014 projections with an unexpected start.

In the minors:
Back in Milwaukee, if you're headed out to Miller Park this week, the Brewers have a couple of new menu items for you to try. John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer reviewed the Mahi Mahi Tacos at the Double Clutch stand on the Loge Level, and the "Luc's Ragin Cajun" burger at the AJ Bombers stand on the first base side of the field level.

Elsewhere around the city, be on the lookout this morning for more than 500 helium balloons the Brewers have placed in a variety of Milwaukee locations. As part of the team's "Spring Madness" promotion, each balloon contains two vouchers for tickets to next week's Brewers/Pirates series or another prize.

In power rankings:
If you'd like more Brewers coverage today but you're sick of reading, I have a pair of options for you:
Around baseball:

Diamondbacks: Released pitcher Alex Sanabia.
Indians: Placed DH Jason Giambi on the DL with a calf strain.
Padres: Designated first baseman/outfielder Xavier Nady for assignment.

I already mentioned it on Twitter this morning, but I wonder if the Brewers might be interested in Nady's services. He was off to a rough start with the Padres, hitting just .135/.238/.405 through 22 games, but could give the Brewers another viable veteran bench bat and a backup candidate for first base and both outfield corners. He's 35 years old and pretty far removed from his best MLB seasons, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Doug Melvin take a flyer on him.

Let's go around the NL Central:
  • The Cardinals kept pace with the Brewers with a 4-3 win over the Braves in Atlanta. The loss was Atlanta's seventh straight.
  • The wildest game of the night was played in Pittsburgh, where the Giants scored on an error in the 13th inning to eke out an 11-10 win over the Pirates. Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout has more from the marathon game.
  • The Cubs and White Sox also went to extra innings, with the south-siders picking up a 3-1 win in the 12th on Marcus Semien's RBI double.
  • The Brewers, as you've likely heard, beat the Diamondbacks 8-3 behind home runs from Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura and Martin Maldonado.
  • The Reds were off on Monday.
Here are today's updated standings and probables:
Team  GB  Today  Matchup 
Brewers  22  11  --  vs Diamondbacks, 7:10 pm  Marco Estrada vs Josh Collmenter 
Cardinals  17  16  @ Braves, 6:10 pm  Tyler Lyons vs Gavin Floyd 
Reds  15  16  @ Red Sox, 6:10 pm Homer Bailey vs Felix Doubront 
Cubs  11  19  9.5  vs White Sox, 7:05 pm  Edwin Jackson vs Hector Noesi 
Pirates  12  20  9.5  vs Giants, 6:05 pm  Charlie Morton vs Tim Hudson 

Today in former Brewers:
It's relevant to nothing, but when the Yankees come to Milwaukee later this week, the Brewers won't see longtime closer Mariano Rivera, who retired over the winter after 19 MLB seasons and 652 career saves. Yesterday, the city of New York renamed the street formerly known as River Avenue to "Rivera Avenue," disregarding the protests of the family of the city's previous namesake, former mayor Marcus B. River.

Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday to 2002 Brewer Israel Alcantara. He turns 41, and I covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History at Brew Crew Ball three years ago.

Today is also the fifth anniversary of catcher Carlos Corporan getting a hit in his only at bat as a Brewer in 2009, and the 32nd anniversary of Robin Yount passing Don Money for first place on the Brewers' all-time runs scored list in 1982. Follow the links for those events' respective entries in Today In Brewer History.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a recount.

Drink up.

Don't forget to follow Kyle on Twitter @BrewFrostyMug, and check out and "like" the Mug's Facebook page. The Frosty Mug runs mornings Monday-Friday and is brought to you by Legends of the Field, a sports memorablila company you can trust.




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