After finishing off a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins Sunday, the Brewers weren't concerned so much with the fact that they won three straight as they were with the manner in which they did it.
Strong starting pitching. Good relief. Balanced hitting. Put all three of those together and the Brewers bear a striking resemblance to the team many thought to be the favorite this season in the National League Central.
After a rough two-week stretch during which the Brewers lost three straight series, going 3-7 in the process, their half-game lead in the division is now a slightly more comfortable three games, though you won't find anybody staring down the standings in the Brewers' locker room.
"It's still way too early," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I know how far we have to go; I know how much things can change in one month."
The road doesn't get any easier this week as the Brewers continue their stretch of interleague play with a three-game series against the Yankees in New York before a rematch with the Twins over the weekend at Target Field.
"I think this team, the way we're playing now, they're very confident going into New York," Roenicke said.
Staying hot: Braun's fifth inning home run Sunday extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games. During the streak, Braun is hitting .323 (21-for-65) with three homers and 15 RBI.
He has three hitting streaks of at least 10 games this season, the only player in baseball to do so.
All-Star update: Rickie Weeks moved into the lead among National League second basemen according to the most recent fan balloting results, which were released Monday afternoon.
Weeks, with 2,869,583 votes, moved past the Reds' Brandon Phillips, who saw his 191,876-vote lead disappear in the last week.
Among second baseman, Weeks leads the National League with 56 runs scored, 92 hits, 20 doubles, 31 walks a .360 on-base percentage and a .498 slugging percentage.
Ryan Braun still leads overall voting among National League players with 3,932,100 votes putting him in line to start his franchise-record fourth consecutive Mid-Summer Classic.
Not going anywhere: Not long ago, Carlos Gomez sidled up beside Roenicke during batting practice for a quick chat.
"He just kind of came over, and said, 'Hey, don't forget about me,'" Roenicke said.
Despite seeing Nyjer Morgan take most of the playing time in center field, Gomez hasn't changed his demeanor. Roenicke said his attitude has been "awesome."
He also hasn't given up on Gomez, who started Saturday and went 3-for-4 with a home run. Coming into the game, he had collected just three hits in his previous 32 at-bats.
His struggles have been well-documented by Roenicke plans to keep using Gomez against left-handers and in combination with Morgan, who continues to stay hot.
"I still like the combination of playing them both out there," Roenicke said. "For Gomez, if this gets his confidence going again, that's a real nice combination."
DiFelice out, Gamel in: With six games in American League ballparks on the Horizon, the Brewers added some punch to their lineup by summoning Mat Gamel from Class AAA Nashville.
Gamel was hitting .321 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI for the Sounds. Heading into play Sunday, he hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games, homered in three of the last four, including a walk-off shot Saturday night against New Orleans.
Hitting in the minor leagues has never been a problem for Gamel, the Brewers' fourth-round pick in the 2005 draft. He's been nothing short of a beast at all levels of the organization but when given the chance to show his stuff at the big league level, he's struggled, compiling a .241 average with five home runs and 21 RBI.
The team has already cleared space on the roster, having sent right-hander Mark DiFelice to Nashville following the game Sunday. He was called up last week to replace lefty Zach Braddock. He had made three appearances for the Brewers, allowing four runs in three innings of work.
Braddock, meanwhile, was recalled from Nashville in another move Monday, giving the Brewers a left-handed option in the bullpen. To make room for him on the roster, the team designated right-hander Sergio Mitre for assignment.
Mitre was 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 22 appearances this season, mostly in long relief.
On the farm: RHP Tyler Thornburg has been selected to the U.S. roster for the 2011 All-Star Futures Game. He went 7-0 for Class A Wisconsin before earning a promotion to Class A Brevard County, which opens the second half later this week ... The Timber Rattlers will be in town this week for the annual Border Battle contest against Peoria, Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Tickets are available at Brewers.com.
Quick hits: Ryan Braun is the only player in baseball this season with three hitting streaks of at least 10 games. He's currently hit in 17 straight games ... Randy Wolf has won his last three decisions ... Prince Fielder leads the National League with 68 RBI ... The Brewers have won seven straight against the Twins, including two series sweeps at Miller Park ... Jonathan Lucroy's triple Sunday was the first of his career ... The Brewers have come from behind to win 18 times this season.
This week: Interleague play continues for the Brewers, who travel to New York for three games at Yankee Stadium. It's off to Minnesota for the weekend, where the Twins will look to get revenge at Target Field.
Attendance (through 40 home dates): Total – 1,393,203; Average – 34,830; Sellouts – 11.
NL Central standings (through games Sunday)