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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while changing the station.

The Milwaukee Brewers have won back-to-back series for the first time this season, getting a three-run homer from Martin Maldonado and holding on in the ninth to beat San Diego 6-5 in yesterday's rubber game. Noah has the recap, if you missed it.

Yesterday's win got more exciting than it needed to be in the ninth, when the Brewers allowed three runs to turn a non-save situation into Jose Veras' fifth career save and first since June 16 of last year. John Axford started off the inning but was only able to record one out while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks, including one with the bases loaded. He faced six batters and threw 37 pitches.

As has become common, Axford's rough outing was followed by a litany of morons insulting him on Twitter. Fortunately Axford has a sense of humor about it and preserved the tweets for posterity under the #TwitterToughGuy hashtag. Landon Evanson of Bugs & Cranks wants the kind of person who ends up tweeting something like that to stop ruining Twitter for everyone else.

The late-inning meltdown yesterday overshadowed a big day for Martin Maldonado, whose sixth inning homer was his third go-ahead hit in as many days. He also made a hole in the press box drywall on Friday night.

Norichika Aoki went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks yesterday to extend his hitting streak to five games and is now hitting .337/.398/.551 over his last 25 appearances. We've got a fair number of notes on him today:

Ryan Braun had a pretty good weekend, picking up five hits over three games and homering yesterday. Braun now has hits in six straight games, and it's only the ninth time this season a Brewer has done that. David Pinto of Baseball Musings notes that Braun's stat line from 2012 is almost identical to his 2011 marks.

Other notes from the field:

43,021 fans paid to see yesterday's game on Nyjer Morgan's bobblehead day, the third largest Miller Park crowd of the season. The Brewers also sold out Saturday's game, and one of the fans in attendance was New Orleans-based comedian Chris Trew. He wrote about his first Miller Park experience here.

Following an off day today the Brewers will open a three game set in Kansas City tomorrow with Zack Greinke facing the Royals for the first time since being traded to Milwaukee before the 2011 season. James Walker has the preview. Greinke's 89 game score on May 9 against the Reds is still tied for the seventh best in the majors this season.

Here's a weird statistical quirk from this weekend: Corey Hart hit a foul ball during an at bat Friday night, ending a streak of 22 consecutive plate appearances without one. That was tied for the eleventh longest streak since 2005.

Elsewhere in unusual numbers: Taylor Green hit another pinch-hit home run Friday night, his second in seven days and the second of his career. Mike Vassallo notes that only two other Brewers have hit career homers #1 and 2 as a pinch hitter: Trent Durrington in 2004 and Prince Fielder in 2005.

I've already mentioned the new hole in the press box wall, but Adam McCalvy is reporting that the team also patched a hole in the wall near the Brewer clubhouse after a player must have taken out his frustrations sometime last week. Details aren't available, but we do know that it wasn't Corey Hart or Shaun Marcum.

Marco Estrada continues to rehab from injury and is expected to pitch a simulated game in Kansas City tomorrow. After that he's expected to make two rehab starts and could rejoin the team around the end of the month. When he does return he's expected to be slotted back into the rotation.

Meanwhile, the Brewers' recent play has given them some tough decisions to make when Cesar Izturis and Jonathan Lucroy are able to come off the DL. Adam McCalvy says it's too early to think about either decision, though.

Over the weekend we picked up a bunch more draft notes:

Congratulations are due out this morning to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who clinched their first playoff berth since 2005 and their first as a Brewer affiliate with their win and Kane County's loss yesterday. Wisconsin is guaranteed one of the top two spots in the Midwest League Western Division in the first half, and leads Beloit by four games with seven to play for the top spot.

Elsewhere in the minors:

If you'd like more Brewer coverage this morning but you're sick of reading, my debut appearance on WSSP from yesterday has been archived (look for the June 10 pregame show). I was on the roundtable with Chuck Freimund and Andrew Wagner.

Finally, congratulations are due out this morning to Beaver9, yesterday's winner in our SB Nation Pick 6 contest. Here's the full leaderboard:

Rank Player Points
1 Beaver9 83.5
2 Lewthelegend 76.4
3 Ashcampbell 71.2
4 Jahiegel 70.5
5 mamaro68 58.2
6 sauveb 52.8
7 mls4 52.2
8 icecreamman 51.6
9 -JP- 51.0
10 coolig 50.2

Beaver9, Kiev 'n Rice (Sunday's winner) and texwestern (Saturday's winner) have all earned entries into the Brew Crew Ball Sweepstakes. You can see the full sweepstakes rules here. Today's abbreviated MLB schedule doesn't start until 6:07, so there's plenty of time to make your picks for today.

Around baseball:

Astros: Placed outfielder Fernando Martinez on the seven-day concussion DL.
Athletics: Claimed pitcher Danny Farquhar off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Cardinals: Claimed pitcher John Gaub off waivers from the Rangers and released pitcher Scott Linebrink.
Marlins: Designated infielder Donnie Murphy for assignment.
Red Sox: Placed pitcher Rich Hill on the DL with an elbow injury and designated outfielder Marlon Byrd for assignment.
Rockies: Designated pitcher Esmil Rogers for assignment.
Royals: Placed pitcher Felipe Paulino on the DL with a groin strain.
Tigers: Catcher Omir Santos has rejected an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.

The Pirates remain the NL Central's hottest team: They've won eight of their last ten games and will resume play tomorrow tied with the Reds for first place in the division. You know that and more if you've read this morning's edition of Around the NL Central.

The Cubs lost two of three to the Twins this season in their first-ever visit to Target Field. Carrie Muskat noted that the Cubs have now played games in 120 different ballparks since 1876.

This season's new draft rules have had at least one really positive consequence in the fact that a lot more players are signing early and getting their pro careers underway. The Cardinals, for example, have already reached agreement with 27 of their 44 picks.

Today in former Brewers:

This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates 1961 and '65 Milwaukee Brave Frank Thomas' 83rd birthday. Plunk Everyone notes that his 51 career HBP are the second most ever for a player born on June 11.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm pretending to have something else to do.

Drink up.