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Cameron drives in go-ahead run in Brewers' 4-3 win

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COLIN FLY
September 11, 2008
— Mike Cameron sure hopes his clutch hit carries over to the sputtering Milwaukee Brewers' biggest road trip of the season.

"I tell you what, it was a good spark today leaving up out of here," Cameron said. "We got the fuse lit."


Cameron singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning Wednesday, and Milwaukee rallied to beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3, avoiding a three-game sweep.


The NL wild card-leading Brewers, who have won just three of their last 10 games, looked destined for another loss against Cincinnati. They trailed 3-1 after six but their meager offense, which scored 28 runs in the 10-game homestand, did just enough.


"Yeah, there's a sigh of relief, and a change of scenery does people good, too," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "We've been here 10 days, as much we like playing here, it's been a struggle. Now we'll go elsewhere and see if we can't get on a big roll."


Elsewhere is Philadelphia, where the Brewers will start a 10-game, 11-day trip Thursday night with four games against the Phillies, followed by three games against the Cubs.


"Some guys are playing for pennies, and some guys are playing for gold right now," Cameron said.


Milwaukee entered with a three-game lead over Philadelphia in the wild-card race with St. Louis and Houston close behind. The Brewers also were 4 back of NL Central-leading Chicago. All four teams play later Wednesday, including the Cubs at St. Louis.


"This is horribly fun, if you can understand what I am saying. It's a lot, a lot of fun, but it's a grind and there's a lot of pressure that goes with it," Yost said. "We know what we're doing. We know what we're up against."


Cameron, one of the veterans brought in for exactly this reason after Milwaukee coughed up an 8-game lead last summer, was at the center of the important rally. He drew a leadoff walk in the seventh, moved up on a groundout and scored on shortstop Jeff Keppinger's throwing error off Jason Kendall's infield single.


Reds starter Bronson Arroyo outpitched CC Sabathia and handed a 3-2 lead over to David Weathers (2-6), who couldn't hold on to the advantage.


"(It) would have been nice to bury him," Arroyo said of hanging Sabathia with his first NL loss. "But that is the way the game goes, keep it close and they made it happen in the eighth."


Milwaukee loaded the bases with no outs before Tony Gwynn Jr. hit into a double play that scored J.J. Hardy for the tying run. Cameron then singled in Ryan Braun to make it 4-3.


"When Cameron got that hit, I couldn't hear the rest of the players screaming because I was screaming," Yost said.


Cameron didn't hear anything, either.


"I was screaming myself," he said.


Guillermo Mota (5-5) tossed a perfect eighth to get the win and Salomon Torres struck out the side in the ninth for his 27th save in 34 opportunities.


Sabathia, who remains 9-0 in 13 starts, struck out eight and allowed eight hits in seven innings. He also drove an unearned run with a groundout in the third and added a double in the fifth.


Sabathia won't pitch against the Phillies, but will go in the opener against the Cubs on Tuesday.


"I was thinking about that today, we're going into that big series and not being able to pitch," Sabathia said. "But I do get to pitch in Chicago, which is going to be another big series. It's a big road trip."


Jerry Hairston Jr., activated from the DL on Tuesday, hit a three-run homer off the big left-hander to give Cincinnati a 3-1 lead, but the Reds' errors cost them a chance to sweep the Brewers in Miller Park for the first time in five years.


"The unearned runs, those are two runs you gave away, you can't give away runs," manager Dusty Baker said. "That was the difference in the game."


Hairston's fifth-inning homer appeared to be enough for Arroyo, who got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half by getting J.J. Hardy to hit a hard grounder that third baseman Edwin Encarnacion turned into a nifty double play.


But Cameron delivered with the heart of the Brewers' order Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart hitting a combined .208 (22-of-106) with no homers and six RBIs in the homestand.


"It's always good when you can get a big hit, especially where we've been the last few days, the highs and lows," Cameron said. "Everybody's been trying to maintain their composure, and just keep playing, keep grinding and try to compete. That's all you can do."



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