By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 01, 2008 at 5:16 AM

Never have the Brewers been more popular. They're gaining national recognition and being on pace to shatter an all-time franchise attendance record. TV and radio ratings are up. Merchandise sales are up.

Even outside of Milwaukee, people are admitting to be Brewers fans.

But the Brewers' winning ways have actually had the opposite effect on one group in particular: the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals don't like the way that the Brewers -- as they have done all season -- untuck their shirts after a victory. They didn't like the way Ryan Braun stared at a massive home run a couple of weeks back and Albert Pujols took offense to Carlos Villanueva's "antics" on the mound after getting out of a bases-loaded jam late in Tuesday night's game.

But most of all, they just don't like losing to the Brewers; a team that they have dominated over the last decade.

After splitting a pair of games in St. Louis last week, the Brewers left town with their first victory in a season series against the Cardinals since 1999.

In 2008, Milwaukee went 10-5 against the Cardinals, who owned the Brewers since the teams first met in a 1997 Interleague series at County Stadium. St. Louis entered the season 62-91 all-time against the Brewers.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bernie Micklasz chimed in on the topic earlier this week, but later took his own jabs at the Brewers.

Braun crushes cards: Nobody has enjoyed facing the Cardinals this season more than Bruan. He hit .459 against St. Louis with seven home runs and 13 RBI. Of course, that kind of success usually leads to some kind of altercation and sure enough, Adam Wainwright plunked the left fielder in the season finale between the two teams.

Perfect timing: There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but Mike Cameron is getting hot at just the right time.

Cameron is batting .378 (31 for 82) with eight homers and 20 RBI in his last 23 games and has had multi-hit games 11 times during that stretch.

Even when he was struggling at the plate, his defensive contributions in centerfield were invaluable to the Brewers.

He's upped his average to a respectable .261 and has 24 homers, 64 RBI and 13 stolen bases for the season. Cameron had to sit out the first 25 games of the season because of a suspension.

Three-million strong (and growing): On Tuesday, the Brewers surpassed the three-million mark in tickets sold for the season; the first time the franchise has achieved the feat.

Considering that Milwaukee is the smallest market in the major leagues, that is quite an accomplishment. Obviously, winning helps.

The team has sold out every game since acquiring CC Sabathia in a July trade, a streak of 21 consecutive full houses. That run is expected to grow to 22 after Monday's game with the Mets at Miller Park and Tuesday's game is close to being sold out, as well.

Call-ups arrive today: Major League teams are allowed to expand their rosters to 40 players today. With none of the Brewers' minor league teams playing in their respective post-seasons, a number of players could get the call to Milwaukee to help for the stretch run.

Mitch Stetter could return to Milwaukee to provide an extra left-handed arm in the bullpen. Top prospect Mat Gamel, along with Vinny Rottino, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Joe Dillion could get the call today.

Unlike in years past, the team won't bring in players to audition for jobs next season. With the Brewers in the fight for the playoffs, the extra bodies will be used more in situations to spell a regular or to pinch run or hit.

Turnaround: Last year, a 9-18 August killed the Brewers' hopes of winning the Central. In 2008, they put together one of their best months ever, tying a franchise record with 20 victories.

Gagne returns: Reliever Eric Gagne returned to the Brewers over the weekend following his son's birth. Gagne left the team early last week to be with his wife, Valerie. She gave birth to the boy, the couple's fourth child, on Friday.

Quick hits: The Brewers won the season series with St. Louis for just the second time since joining the National League and first time since 1999. ... Dave Bush went 4-0 in August and allowed just eight runs in 34 innings of work. ... CC Sabathia's victory Sunday gave the Brewers three starters with perfect records in August (Bush, Sabathia and Jeff Suppan). ... Corey Hart became the first player in franchise history to have two seasons with at least 20 homers and stolen bases.

Injury report: 2B Ray Durham left Tuesday's game with a strained right shoulder, but isn't expected to miss any time. ... No word yet on Russell Branyan's status. He was eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 27.

On the farm: Class AAA Nashville ended its season with an 11-10 loss at New Orleans. The Sounds finished 59-81. ... Class AA Huntsville wraps up its season today with a matinee against Chattanooga. The Stars narrowly missed the playoffs this year.

He said it: "If they don't want to see it, then beat us." -- Yost, on the Cardinals taking offense to the Brewers post-victory shirt-untucking tradition.

This week: Welcome to the stretch run. The Brewers open a 10-game home stand tonight with the first of three against NL East front-runner, the New York Mets. The Padres come to town on Thursday for a four-gamer to round out the week.

N.L. Central standings: 1, Chicago, 85-52; 2, Milwaukee, 80-56 (-4.5); 3, St. Louis, 74-63 (-11); 4, Houston, 71-66 (-14); 5, Cincinnati, 61-76 (-24); 6, Pittsburgh, 57-79 (-27.5)